Posts Tagged ‘declaration’

a declaration, a rant: Newspapers have had the longest wake ever

In lit randomness, magazines, media, print on May 13, 2009 at 3:40 am

The other night I watched the movie The Paper for the first time. It’s by Ron Howard, so there is some sap squeezed from the tree as the lead character played Michael Keaton fights for truth in a world only concerned with bottom lines and he makes his child’s birth despite his wife’s doubts about his priorities. I’m not as concerned about the narrative tension as the moment in time. It’s 1994. Only a couple of people in the movie have cellphones. Layout is done on the computer, but there is no Internet. And in a moment of pure nostalgia from the 2009 vantage point, Glenn Close, playing a harried newspaper exec, exclaims–“I only have 350 (reporters) when the Daily News has 700!” Oh, the tragedy. 15 years later and a staff of 350 is the luxury and 50 (or less) is the norm for standard newsroom procedure.

What I’m writing has been written a million times before but only by other newspaper people–the newspaper is dying and they’ve had the longest wake ever. Except no one cares. Their death has been extended and exaggerated by worried columnists who’ll freak if their stuff isn’t printed on paper but instead read by thousands more on a computer screen. Jack Shafer in a Slate piece yesterday writes about the New York strike in the 60s and uncovers that while newspapers were desired, other media stepped into the void. We’ve already seen that happen, especially as newspapers missed their cultural moment to adapt and survive. More after the jump…
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