Monday, September 20, 2010

“Did instant coffee kill coffee?” No.

Will the Internet kill newspapers? Will online magazines kill real magazines? Will bloggers kill the respected journalist? No. No. No.

After reading Out of Print: The Death and Life of the American Newspaper by Eric Alterman, I couldn’t help but feel guilty for rarely ever sitting down on a Sunday morning, pouring a cup of tea, and slaving over a thick newspaper. Flipping it’s pages and watching the black ink build up on my finger tips isn’t something that particularly interests me. Why? It’s not because I hate the way the newspaper smells (I secretly love it), it’s not because I find opening, folding, and slapping a newspaper just right so I can read it to be a huge pain-in-the-ass, it’s not because I find the task too daunting, well, it’s just because whatever is in the newspaper I probably read about two or three days ago on the Internet.

“According to “Abandoning the News,” published by the Carnegie Corporation, thirty-nine per cent of respondents under the age of thirty-five told researchers that they expected to use the Internet in the future for news purposes; just eight per cent said that they would rely on a newspaper.”

Uh oh. And, “The average age of the American newspaper reader is fifty-five and rising.” It seems like the newspaper is already dead; clinched in the fists of all those old people who refuse to embrace new technologies. However, I still believe in the newspaper.

Why I Blog by Andrew Sullivan, explains the difference between the good ol’ fashion newspaper (and a traditional writer) and the literary liberation obtained from blogging. When I think of blogs, a few things come to mind: 1) Nonfiction commentary. Bloggers tend to give their perspectives. They can be bias. They engage the reader with a personal story. They latch onto a story that has been floating around in the traditional media world and give their take on it, “Here’s what CNN reported but I was there and this is what really happened…” Who are you going to believe? Who do you want to hear more from? Sure, I’ll read a news clip from CNN but I want to read a firsthand experience too. 2) Regurgitated news. Depending on what blogs I stumble across, there is a lot of dissected news with a bunch of opinions throughout it. While this entices some readers, it can cloud judgment. Then again, this is one of the reasons why blogs are so popular; people want someone they can agree with, someone who shares their same sentiments, someone to add fuel to their fire. 3) A newspapers best friend…if the newspaper will have it. The Internet, social media, and the blogosphere were all inevitable. How long did they think the population would be okay with slow moving news? Really. And if the population has little trust for it’s newspaper/reporters, it was only a matter of time until we found a way around them. Bloggers add to the story, they all engage the reader, they solicit for comments, and in my opinion keep the story alive.

The newspaper, the magazine, and the book are works of art. Millions of dollars are poured into them. They are held to a high standard and are expected to supply sound stories from which one can make informed decisions about their way of life and their community. These printed stories are the gateway into a world of commentaries, opinions, firsthand accounts, and comments that all ooze through the Internet.

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