The little bit of news I care about I tend to get online. I check the local newspaper website, of which I’m only allowed to see the “non-premium” content, like most newspapers these days.
I had a chance while waiting for someone yesterday to read an actual physical newspaper, and found I ain’t missing much.
In addition to the appendix and the platypus, there are two other things whose continued existence I don’t understand. A printed daily paper, and the local TV evening newscast.
I know there are a lot of people who decry the loss of the printed page, and back when there was some level of professional journalism practiced, they have a point. But I find the same sloppily written stories in print I find online. And I find them two days later.
My local newscasters still like to put out “teasers” on stories to keep you viewing to the end of their boring broadcast. The bulk of their content is pulled from online. Do they really expect me to sit patiently for them to reveal something to me that has been viral on Youtube for a week?
If you tune into CSPAN or public television you’ll see a lot of boring round-table discussions on “the state of journalism today” and the “role of the newspaper”. Usually these are peopled with laid-off journalists and professors who are trying to keep their name alive so they can sell the book they wrote – boring books on past events that nobody cares about anymore.
I’m not sure why the electron killed journalism. Because it’s not the delivery method that constitutes reporting and good writing. I have reason to believe that interesting stories were told on papyrus. TV didn’t kill the newspapers. Successful newspapers adapted to deliver more in-depth coverage than television sound bites could deliver.
But with the greatest communications tools in the history of mankind at our disposal, suddenly we are supposed to feel sorry for the established media. Instead, it should be a journalist’s heyday.
Because what you are NOT going to hear on those boring round-table discussions is “we didn’t get it. We had a monopoly on information, and expense accounts, and we were comfy.” It is the gatekeeper role that has become obsolete.
Which to me, is exciting. I think the only thing more exciting is seeing the established “entertainment” industry going through the same disruption.
It’s a good time to be alive!