Read All About It … Just Somewhere Else

I’m really baffled by all this hand-wringing over the idea that the newspaper may be coming to an end. Now I’m not unsympathetic to the plight of those losing their jobs because of it. But wasn’t the writing on the wall for this the minute the internet came along?

And really, CNN really started the whole thing. Once there was a centralized, 24-hour source for national and international news, there went a huge chunk of the reason to read a local newspaper. Add in FOX News and MSNBC, and there’s really no need to wait until tomorrow morning to read news that might already be out of date by the time you read it.

Then along comes the internet, and now I can go online and read the news instead of waiting for it to be slung onto my driveway in a plastic bag? Sounds good to me.

The move from print to digital news sources is every bit as logical as the move from steam to electric, radio to television, black and white to color, vinyl to disc. But nobody is crying over how nobody uses victrolas anymore. So why is the newspaper being held on to as some dying icon that must be kept alive?

I can buy the argument that losing a newspaper robs a city of one of its main sources for local news. But if I have the option of plodding along and paying all the costs to maintain a large building to hold a large printing press and the staff and supplies to keep it running, or renting out a suite and a couple of computers to keep my website running, it seems like the choice is obvious. And if less of my money is going towards machines and paper and ink, more of my money can go towards people, the feet on the street to bring in the local news.

If anything, newspapers are right up there with the recording labels as examples of failing to see the seismic changes the internet would bring, and failing to prepare for and capitalize on those changes. Instead of treating the online world as a threat, it should have been embraced as one more outlet. Now, it’s too late.


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