Tuesday, March 17, 2009

News of the Day

I could not believe it would come to this, but now it has. I worked in the library of our Vancouver newspapers not long ago and boy that used to be the plum job, though the rumblings were there back in '01. I spun my theories of how newspapers WOULD survive. It's like a Mr. Coffee and Starbucks, yes I can have a coffee at home but community is a craving. Society demands space for interchange, physical space, things like newspapers. While we all have moments when newspapers piss us off, that's always been the point.

I love me some technology but print newspapers are important: editorial positions, views simultaneously independent and intertwined, something of value in the composure of an information serving. It is the hallmark of the information overload we seem able to accept at this juncture that composition could become so endangered.

And, me? I have spent all day on the most tedious spreadsheet in the history of the world. Analysis of our school board digital subscriptions and what students are taking from the nearly 1 million database sessions executed in a quest for knowledge information

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5 Comments:

Blogger Subspace Beacon said...

It's only gonna get worse -- so says my husband who was once at the bottom (or was it the top?) of the newspaper food chain and has spent a lot of time hanging around press rooms at ungodly hours.

What's really killing newspapers isn't online news sites, but craigslist. The classifieds were the backbone of many, many chains.

The other day we were reading a story and the character had a newspaper route and my kids found this mind boggling. Heaven help us.

8:44 PM  
Blogger mo-wo said...

Yes SB of course you are right about revenue. We just lost a local women's magazine because of the advertising drought.

Now that you bring it up it is still a drift to online isn't it... Where is all the advertising, craigslist, websites, BLOGS, in my frickin' emails.

It has been quite a thing to drop back into work after two years and keep saying to everyone. What's with all these flipping pyramid schemes dressed up as tools and resources.

9:04 PM  
Blogger Mad said...

The problem is, Wo, as you well know, you can't spread a laptop out over the dining room table while you eat breakfast/dinner. Sure, you can have a laptop there if you want to be really rude but you can't eat in peace, interact with your family, AND catch up on a few stories all at the same time.

What you say about the juxtaposition of opinion on the page is a point very well taken. Online news encourages people to read only the news they want to read rather than the news in all its glorious perspective. This makes for ideologues rather than informed citizens. I would NEVER, for example, read Margaret Wente online but the sandpaper that she represents to my world view is downright good for me.

The other problem with online news is that, increasingly, it is micro-announced on home pages, on Twitter... Following various news sources on Twitter has been a boon for me b/c I am now aware of more but I rarely click past the 140 chars. I can't justify the time. Ah, but when I'm eating dinner, I can also dine on a buffet of articles.

Also, it has become clear to me that far too many intelligent people have stopped reading the news because it threatens the safety of their lives. They would rather not know the bad stuff. This saddens me because it is turning us into a culture of information-saturated, insight-poor people.

And then there's the unhealthy pop culture fixation but, hey, I've gone on long enough...

Oh and the lament for neon landmarks on the urban landscape...

End times, my friend. End times.

7:45 AM  
Blogger Subspace Beacon said...

mo-wo, I wasn't intending to contradict your premise with my comment -- but add a different perspective. I wasn't sure if that was clear in my initial comment.

Mad's comment reminds me of a Simon & Garfunkal lyric "I get all the news I need on the weather report." So many people in their 30s wrap themselves up in a cocoon of denial and fear only sticking their head out occasionally to read The Alberta Report and similar crap.

9:25 PM  
Blogger kittenpie said...

The print industry is getting decimated right now by this recession. It's scary and also a very interesting shift forced by the times to see what floats.

8:40 AM  

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