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June 12, 2009

Journalists should cringe

Newspapers While perusing a review of the crumbling state of our nation's newspaper industry, I crossed paths with these chilling words:

The unsettling possibility looms that some big cities could lose their sole remaining daily newspaper – and that the public won't care. If the dead-tree edition of a newspaper falls in a crowded media forest, will it matter, except to the journalists who work there? Are newer, hipper online news outlets poised to fill the void? What, if anything, will be irrevocably lost?

And the public won't care! That's what scares me the most. Even more, that the public won't care if good storytelling follows these newspapers down the drain. In our soundbite-saturated culture, are we forgetting the treasure that daily newspapers bring to us in good stories?

(Image courtesy of ArtsJournal)

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Jason Taylor

It is easy enough to convert into periodicals and specialty productions. And to publish online editions.

In any case it is not clear to me that the service newspapers provide the public warrants a lament.


I don't know what your daily newspaper is like, but the ones in my region (Portland Or/Vancouver WA) are by no means purveyors of good stories. While it is entirely possible that the public "won't care" about the loss of a newspaper because of their lack of appreciation for good stories, I think it is equally probable that they don't care because "dead-tree" newspapers stopped printing good stories sometime during the Johnson administration. Even neglecting increasing political bias and saturation by articles from outside sources like the AP, most newspaper writing displays little or no grasp of vocabulary, grammar, and literary style. There are exceptions, such as the Wall Street Journal, and as far as I know such papers are in no danger of ceasing to exist. The ease of access to good information sources not geographically proximate has likely accelerated the demise of mediocre reporting down the block, but it's no guarantee people have lost the value of a good story. That can happen with or without local newspapers.

Randy Thomas

I was just thinking that I wanted to cover more positive stories and you post this. I am kind of ok with regular papers going by the way side. Maybe they will learn a lesson?

jason taylor

Are you sure journalists finding business bad is not a positive story.


Guys, guys, guys - you can be **so** insensitive and thoughtless:

Zoe Sandvig
[...] She also regularly contributes to the Washington Times and World Magazine.

( quoted from http://thepoint.breakpoint.org/the-point-contributors.html )

We wouldn't want our dear, sweet Zoe being underemployed, now would we?

And wouldn't we - a-HEM - **care** about the stories she could tell?? I've seem some of the ones she wrote for the Times; our world would be immeasurably poorer without them.

Or are we such Neanderthals we should each star in our own Pixar movies? Sheesh...

P.S.: Amen, Joel; in contrast to what I just said, I believe the demise of The Snoregonian can't happen quickly enough. Would that the Portland Tribune could rise to take its place, with the much missed David Reinhard as Editor-in-chief, minus all those death threats he got from the oh-so-tolerant liberals in this area. Toss in a few feature writers of Zoe's quality, they'd really have something.


Ah, LeeQuod, you do my journalist's heart good. Thank you for your kind words. May I strive to continue to grow into them.

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