The day the Hearst printing presses in Washington state turned out the last edition of the famed Seattle Post-Intelligencer, a few years back. I’m all for the New Media, hell, I’m here, but I confess to a well of sadness springing up within. This marks the first newspaper of it’s size and age (146 years) to move completely online.
I’m compelled to ask, what’s next for the industry guillotine, America? Are we poised on the cusp of being a society completely Out of Print?
The fateful day The New York Times put advertising on their front page, it heralded a seismic shift in the mores and future of print journalism. Next, The Washington Post saw the need to nearly jettison the in-depth nature of the business section they’ve been producing since the 1880′s. Their Book World section bit the dust already. Folks can now download
such things to Kindle or iPad.
WaPo was my local paper for several wonderful years, and just long enough ago that they were still considered a part of the famed biased liberal media. As a matter of fact, my mentor/professor Sec. Madeleine Albright had some fascinating stories involving her marital sticky wickets while she was married to one of the paper’s legendary editors. She was at State under
President Carter for some events her spouse felt to be of keen interest to him, but alas, his security clearance didn’t accommodate that level of pillow talk.
I confess to now getting the bulk of my news online. As bloggers we crave and seek the dérnier cri on every topic, it’s virtually part and parcel of one’s self esteem as an informed and truly proactive citizen.
We nearly haven’t the patience for print. Instant gratification triumphs again. My European friends and acquaintances have been right since school, we drive-through life as Americans, opting for speed -- over true depth or revelry.
Then a shiny link takes our eye, and the phenomenon of the Internets add clicks in to gear … fourteen links later, you’re about to click Review Purchase/Submit for a lilac smooth-cup, balconette pushup bra On Sale for next-to-nothing at Victoria’s Secret.
So I ask, with as usual a relevant Seinfeld in mind, what is genuinely savor-worthy anymore?
For there used to be nothing like a Sunday morning built around your local/chosen, plump with possibilities and plans, uber-gigantic print newspaper. Passing the husband my Powerbook along with seconds on raspberries simply won’t cut it.
Not only would there be créme fraiche garnishing my keyboard, I’d also have to stand on my head to navigate pull-down menus for him. And it’s just not as satisfying to get fired up about a Maureen Dowd piece, and dramatically evince a “Can you believe her? Read this!!” when you are referencing a computer screen rather than angrily passing the real thing with a satisfying paper snap.
Then the stereotypical obvious: how in the world can one hide behind the Living section at the breakfast table? Shall we see men parading into their daily bathroom multi-tasking sessions with a laptop under their arms for a good read of the sports headlines? I think not.
I do love the New Media, again, I participate a bit in variants of the same. Yet I also feel strongly that this is a rapidly morphing cultural paradigm with far-reaching and yet unanticipated ripples. Now Don’t Even Pack re the green arguments, we have mentally pre-countered them all.
I leave you with two alarming and cautionary words : Crossword Puzzles.