Saturday, May 02, 2009

The Great Crash Of 2009!

I hadn't finished my first cup of coffee this morning. I had finished both the morning papers. There just wasn't enough in them to keep me busy. I don't read the want ads which are skimpy at best. I avoid the obituaries like the plague and the stories pulled from the wire services are at least a day old if not more.

The only regional newspaper has completely eliminated the northern Idaho edition and stories in the local daily are mostly that - local. Unfortunately, things that would be of interest like city council meetings or commissioners' meetings are rarely covered. We get more coverage of Chamber of Commerce ribbon cuttings and photos of social events than hard news.

Newspapers have become an endangered species. Advertising revenues are way down. The cycle has become self perpetuating. Okay. Enjoying the papers with my morning coffee may now be a generational phenomenon. Who else has the time to spend an hour or so reading a paper from cover to cover other than retirees?

So what do you do? Turn to TV news? Living in a small market, viewers are at a disadvantage to begin with. We tend to get inexperienced young reporters who's names we've barely learned before they, if they're any good at all, move on to larger markets. We get those left behind and their lack of reporting skills leave us more often in the dark than not. I can't help but question their financial woes when we're told a news crew is being dispatched to the scene of an accident hours after it has happened. On the next newscast we get to watch a reporter standing on an empty stretch of highway explaining to us what had happened hours before. Go figure.

Now advertising revenue is down for the broadcast media. Is it any wonder? Just this last week there was a story in the Inlander regarding substantial layoffs at the local CBS affiliate. They've cut mostly behind the scenes personnel, including producers. You know, the very people who make the newscasts work!

Even the network news has become little more than a recap of the day's headlines. As for cable, you'd have to watch a full slate of both FOX and MSNBC to get both sides of what's happening then figure out where the middle is and you may have an approximate idea of reality.

That leaves the computer. The papers have their blogs and on line editions, the TV stations have their blogs and on line editions and the Internet has it all.

Who has time to sort through all of it? I do but I won't. There are too many other things to do! Too many bloggers already spend too much time at work on line; I've never understood that!

I'm lucky. I have a Mac. Mac's rarely crash. Hub runs Windows and has spent the last three days sorting out a problem. During that time he had to read his headlines and papers on my computer. If it should crash - or the whole Internet should go down as it does more often than is convenient with our local Time Warner, how does one stay informed?

It has become a downward spiral that reminds me of a tornado. At the very bottom there is nothing left except the devastation. The remnants will be an uninformed populace.

Who will know? How will they find out?

I'm already devastated and it's only because I have too much coffee to drink with my papers. I can make a smaller pot. I'll really be devastated when there is no reason to brew a pot at all!


Linda said...

I love this post. I'm with you all the way. It's a constant battle to get good balanced news.

I have a number of blogs and columnists that feed into my Kindle everyday. I read them in spits and jerks during the day when I have a few minutes to sit in my recliner. I hate sitting in front of the computer all day.

On my iPod I sync a few news podcasts everyday. I'm sorry but I really like Rachael Maddow. I also like Chuck Todd from MSNBC and receive his "First Read" in my e-mail every morning. I sync the Jim Leher podcast from PBS. I like Shields & Brooks on PBS so I sync it on Fridays along with Gwen Iffel's Washington Week on PBS. It all goes by the mood I'm in. I'm not too much on those Sunday shows.

This morning I downloaded a book onto my iPod that I heard about last night on the Rachael Maddow show. I love to read/listen to books about the Supreme Court. It's Jeffrey Rosen's book 'The Supreme Court'. I think I'll enjoy listening to it.

I'll miss the human interest stories when newspapers are gone. I'll also miss some of the very good journalists that are retirement age.

Who knows what the future holds for news. No one but retirees have the time today to chase down good news.

Word Tosser said...

I hear you loud and clear.... it is sad when the SR puts their Today section in front, of the regular first page. At least that is how my paper is delivered. It is like if you read their large headlines, you won't be interested. And in fact it takes 4 minutes to read the SR and 2 to read out local one. Which I hate to cancel, as I need something.
I really miss the local radio which told you the local news. And if something happen in town they were right on it. Now it is all canned. Sad, very sad....
And then when the news is full of the Swine Flu type stories, that gives no room for real stories.. well, I just sit with empty cup and papers.

Anonymous said...

So that is why I now only drink one cup of coffee in the morning.

Even when I worked a full I always rose early enough each morning to read the Times through. It was how I started my day and, even with the silly little regional paper here, it is still how I start my day. In L.A. I read the Times. In England, the London Times and, for fun, the Mirror. In Boston, the Globe. To say that I miss those papers is an understatement in the extreme. Still, along with my coffee I read a paper. The disappearance of a newspaper in my life will leave many holes. Not the least being, what will I put in my dogs loo?? CU