Mark Steyn sums up exactly what’s wrong with the newspaper industry:
The parent company of The Eagle Times (of New Hampshire), The Message (of Vermont), and The Connecticut Valley Spectator (of both) has gone out of business, taking all three titles with it. No big deal. Happening all over the country.
This is from The Rutland Herald‘s editorial on the closures:
“The closing of a newspaper means a little piece of democracy has died.” That was the comment of Edgar May, former state senator and a community leader in Springfield. May knows what he is talking about. He earned a Pulitzer Prize in the early 1960s for articles about poverty in America…
To say that a piece of democracy has died is to suggest the process involving each citizen has undergone a withering. It may seem self-serving for the writer of a newspaper editorial to say so, but the exchange of ideas and information that occurs on the pages of the newspaper is the stuff of democracy. If you are reading these words, then you are part of that exchange.
This kind of indestructible, fatuous narcissism is a big part of what’s wrong. What other industry conflates itself with the very legitimacy of the state? If you’re insisting on your indispensability even as millions dispense with you, you’re the one with the problem.
By the way, look at that sentence:
To say that a piece of democracy has died is to suggest the process involving each citizen has undergone a withering.
To be both pompous and inarticulate is a fitting tribute to American newspapering in its death throes.
In his post the other day on the New York Times, Roger Simon wrote, “These days the New York Times is resembling the Daily Mail more than ever in its pursuit of gossip, but, unlike the DM, the Times just doesn’t give us the juice.” At least the journalists on Fleet Street (which I know is mindset not geography these days) still know how to write copy that’s fun to read. All the juice has long since evaporated in most American newspaper rooms.