Ambushed

Melancholy. That’s what I feel when I look at the state of the newspaper industry. There’s a great scramble to move to the technology that folks are using now.

It’s inevitable, I suppose. But it’s also making me sad. It’s really a move towards more individualism, and those who write the words that end up in newsprint have lost their power, as they and their corporations sell their souls to a technology that boasts much and delivers little.

I can think of a post-election simile, but that’s far too depressing.

Oh, I think that good reporters will still be able to enthrall folks with their stories, and those stories will get wide distribution, but the writers will get even less for their efforts than before, far less than they are worth. They’ll still get their accolades, but won’t be able to afford much, unless they sell out to the next tech or write a best-seller.

I’ll be able to move on from my job as a local newspaper editor and retire in the next half-dozen years of so. On the whole, our little weekly isn’t doing too badly, but the same economic pressures are there, and we’re seeing people do the same thing with newspapers that they are doing with the digital realm, heading towards the bullshit of fake news.

It may well be that the distribution of news will be enhanced with the advent of digital journalism, but I wonder of the sheer amount of bullshit that gets circulated will drown out the good stuff.

It may well be that the general public will wise up and recognize bullshit when they see it, but the election makes me doubt, deeply.

So, I’m melancholy.

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2 thoughts on “Ambushed

  1. When I was growing up, reading the newspaper was a daily ritual: the DM Register came in the morning, and the Newton Daily News in the evening. We read them to find out what was happening in the world, and to see what people on the opinion and editorial pages thought about it all. We actually had a current events discussion every week in school — grade school, for heavens’ sake. Since we took geography, we could find places beyond our town limits on the globe. And we clipped articles to share.

    What I’m remembering is how the newspaper itself helped us sort out the importance of events. The really important news was on the front page. The sports was over there, and the churches were here. The news about Mrs. Anderson’s dog finally being found — and at the county jail, no less! — was important, but it was tucked away, lower in the hierarchy.

    With digital, it’s as though everything assumes the same importance. And that feeds the real news/fake news problem. “If it’s on the internet, it must be true” used to be a joke. Now, people believe it. That makes me melancholy.

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