Friday, May 08, 2009

The Decline of the Daily

My favorite Knoxville News-Sentinel columnist, Greg Johnson, laments the decline of newspapers today:

The demise of newspapers has not been greatly exaggerated. The News Sentinel's sister paper in the E.W. Scripps chain, the Rocky Mountain News, folded its final edition recently. The Detroit Free Press has cut home delivery to three days per week.

Over the six-month period ended in March, average newspaper sales declined more than 7 percent.

The reason is familiar: People are reading online. So the shots in "State of Play" and "The Soloist" of that archaic, if fascinating, process of applying ink to paper seem a premature eulogy of sorts, early requiems for a time when we were able to smudge our fingers as we eased into the day while perusing our favorite rag.


As Johnson points out, technology has played no small part in this decline of the old news rag. It isn't really blogging that has brought about the demise of so many papers, but the fact that so many people are reading the papers online. Over the last couple of years, this space has lamented the end of The Cincinnati Post and The Rocky Mountain News, but the end of newsprint papers is not the problem with the demise of these media organs, but the end of two-paper towns and competative journalism.

Not everyone reads the paper on the internet, and not everyone surfs the blogs, or even knows what that expression means. Eventually, our society will likely get to a place where those ways of obtaining news and opinion are commonplace, but until they do, the loss of variant editorial voices to the reading populace has the potential to create a more serious information gap than exists between those with regular access to the internet and those without that capability.

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4 Comments:

At Saturday, May 09, 2009 10:04:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greg Johnson has never been particulary astute or observant. Most often he warps the facts to suit his world-view - which is decidedly Republic/GWB-slanted. The problem with the Sentinel in particular is that they don't really offer anything that you can't get elsewhere, either be it online or on some other medium. Quite frankly, it just generally sucks! Greg Johnson is just one of the symptoms of the "suckiness" of the Sentinel - they don't don't do anything really well - or even passable, for that matter. Their sports suck and are scooped by the Tennessean daily; their local coverage is never particularly accurate (hi, Jamie Satterfield!); their commentary stinks to high heaven; and the rest of the paper has dramatically declined since the end of the daily competition. The Sentinel will eventually die a well-deserved death and Knoxville will eventually become in reality what is is in actuality - a no newspaper town,

 
At Saturday, May 09, 2009 11:47:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

Anon;
While I agree that there are many areas where the News-Sentinel is lacking, Johnson, who is by far their best columnist, and Satterfield, one of their very best reporters, are two of the brightest lights on the staff of the newspaper.

 
At Sunday, May 10, 2009 9:26:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, I see up-close the facts that are the basis for Jamie's reporting. Let's just say that Jamie never lets the facts get in the way of her view of the story.

As for Greg, we'll just have to agree to disagree. Johnson is sort of a blow-hard who spouts shit I don't think he even processes before he writes it down. For example, here's his May 7 entry at the Sentinel:

Calling all pigeons...

The likelihood of an Al Gore statue on Capitol Hill in Nashville grew today when a state Senate committee voted 9-0 to build statues of Tennessee's two Nobel Prize winners - Gore and Cordell Hull. No doubt, a Gore monument would be welcomed by the hot air crowd. But surely somebody on the right side of the aisle will propose permanent funding for pigeon food to be placed in close proximity.

Whatever you think of Gore (and I happen to admire him), he is a former U.S. Representative, former U.S. Senator, former Vice President of the United States and Nobel Prize winner. Certainly he is one of the most outstanding Tennessee citizens of our lifetime. For Johnson to so casually and crudely dismiss Mr. Gore displays a tremendous amount of low-rent thinking and behavior.

No doubt that Mr. Johnson is a conservative, but he seems to be a little bit of an idiot. generally, he just doesn't seem to "get it" - or more probably, refuses to admit the truth that is before him. In that way, I guess he's like a whole lot of conservatives out there these days. I'll continue to laugh at his ignorance, but I'm convinced the N-S can do better than that bozo.

 
At Monday, May 11, 2009 9:24:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Face it, Greg Johnson is a blowhard idiot. He's never written anything that makes much sense. He's consistently wrong and paid for his consistently wrong opinions - come to think of it, he's a stockbroker so it doesn't surprise me that he thinks that he should be paid for his consistently wrong opinions.

 

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