What was once black and white and read all over seems to becoming a dying publishing form. As reported in February of this year, The Philadelphia Inquirer has gone bankrupted. This newspaper was once the biggest source of news for the Delaware Valley and even they are having problems paying their bills.
But I question why this would be happening?
I won’t speak on the economy or anything like that because while I do think it has something to do with the decay of newspaper; I think there is a bigger issue that we are missing.
Is it possible that we don’t need newspapers anymore?
All the up to the minute news can be accessed by our cell phones now. I learned that Michael Jackson died by going on a social networking site and not from the newspaper. Look at the help wanted ads. I don’t think they are so empty because there aren’t jobs; I think it is just cheaper to list online then pay to have it printed in the newspaper. I also just read an on line article that said newspapers are going to stop printing the movie times in the Arts and Entertainment section because people can not only get their movie time on their phones or the Internet, but they can buy their tickets from the same source as well. Book reviews are all on line. Everything we once used a newspaper for is just a click away.
As a writer, this fact saddens me greatly.
I am all for saving trees. However, when I travel, I like to get the local newspaper and see what is going on. Some of my favorite memories from my travels are when I was grabbing the local paper, sitting in a café or a diner drinking tea and reading the local news.
I don’t want to take the time to sit on the Internet trying to find local news. I want to be out in the community and supporting them by purchasing their wares.
Also, I hate the Internet. It’s too big and I can never find what I am looking for. I hate wasting time scrolling through pages and pages of things generated by a search engine. In that respect, I am very old fashioned.
So then, what do we do with our failing newspapers? Are they something that is so archaic that we need to get rid of? If we do, then what is the next writing publication to go?
My mother used to say that you never know what you have until it is gone. Maybe all we need is to revamp our idea of a newspaper and what information it should give us on a daily basis. I think we can all agree there is something almost Zen-like about getting the morning newspaper, having your breakfast and just taking some time to read and relax before the business of the day begins. In this extremely go-go world, we need to find those small moments…those pockets of time…that we get to just stop and breathe. Who wants to be hunched over the computer eating eggs and drinking coffee just to get the daily news?