Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Dying Newspapers?

I try not to miss Mark Morford's weekly Notes & Errata in the San Francisco Gate. You should probably subscribe, unless you are squeamish, uptight or a Republican, in which case it would upset you every seven days.

Apropos the Media Giraffe conference:
  1. We'll be posting more snatches and ideas as we get to them.
  2. Morford's piece today on newspapers' health is right there on the press.
With his palpable allusions to body parts, and in this week's column, your very own dead skin, he nails key issues about newspapers right now. The wheezing meme is that they are dead. Lackaday, they have lost ads to broadcast and even the Web. They are poorer news sources than Net sites, including bloggers. They are doomed atavisms.

If you want to hide from or stop change, get out of his way. He writes:
Here is the thing: Everything is changing. Everything is changing at a rather unprecedented pace that excites and terrifies almost everyone involved until you want to hold your head in your hands and scream and drink and cry. Technology is moving so fast you shall soon need a wireless router for your digital toaster that also produces grappa and makes stock recommendations and plays MP3s through your fingernails. This is just the way.
He parallels those who wail Oooo, doomed newspapers! with the many in his town (as in Manhattan, Boston, Paris and elsewhere) who cry how terrible change is in their city.

For papers, he notes that they "may not be perfect, they may be tainted by human foible and bias, but when compared with all other forms, they remain far and away the one with the most reliable integrity." Morford adds that our hunger for news is at an all-time high.

Cities, your body and media are all constantly changing and shifting, decaying and rebuilding. He offers a haunting image of walking down the street or scratching your arm and tens of thousands of dead skin cells, part of you, fall off. It's similar with newspapers, he writes.

"The bad news is that you are never quite the same, which is why you look just a tiny bit different every single day. The good news is there is not a damn thing you can do about it."

He suggests shrugging, sighing, sipping, loving and laughing -- and to find out the world's view, picking up the paper.

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