Friday, December 19, 2008

Should we kiss the newspapers goodbye?

Not on your life! A ‘news day’ is dawning and we’ll love our newspapers again!
by Charlie Leck

My wife cringes on those mornings when my newspaper doesn’t show up. I get so violently involved in trying to call the paper to tell them my paper didn’t arrive that she runs and hides.

What do I get when I call? A recording! It asks me to touch this number and then that and it never grants me the satisfaction and psychological release of screaming at someone about my paper not showing up in my box at the appointed hour.

I am a newspaper lover. I like to see the ink on my fingers after spending an hour with the morning paper.

“Careful,” my wife shouts at me as I push back from the kitchen dining counter, “don’t touch anything. Wash your hands!”

Yes, newspaper ink is awful. It is supposed to be better than it was in the “old days,” but it is still pretty bad.

Newspapers are folding left and right. A few dailies on the east coast have announced that they’ll home deliver only 3 times a week now.

This is crazy! I love the internet. I adore the blogs I read, but no newspaper? Has the world gone stark, raving mad?

During this financial crisis it is very possible that we will see a half dozen major newspapers around the United States just announce they are closing up.

I keep thinking that we’ll never let it happen. What are the guys who ride the train from Hastings-on-Hudson into Manhattan going to do without their newspapers? Or the women for that matter? What am I going to do with my Sunday morning breakfast? Will I instead need to read again The Portrait of a Lady, by Henry James, as I chomp on my English muffin? No sports column by Sid Hartman? That’s outlandish!

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune let a couple of its best news people go last week. Katherine Kersten and Nick Coleman were the class of the paper – la crème de la crème. They were simply making too much money and the paper unabashedly announced that it couldn’t afford them. Scott Johnson on the Powerline blog writes about this move as if it has something to do with ideology and an improvement of the paper’s balance. That’s crazy Scott. This is an economic move. It’s a Hail Mary pass with only seconds left in the fourth quarter.

I harbor this fantasy that the newspaper will become king again – King of the news industry and that the public will long again for the days of printer’s ink on its fingers and significant stories that run on for column after column, giving us not only the news but an analysis of it.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Chas! Merry Christmas to you and thanks for writing about the newspapers. I love to read the paper and I'm saddened to see many friends in the newspaper industry lose their jobs. Blogs certainly don't replace news.

    I hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas.


    ps - I'm a huge Margaret and Helen fan too! :)