KC has an interesting post up today about the demise of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. If you haven’t been paying attention, the PI is the first (probably of many over the next couple of years) big newspaper to shut down. No more print edition. There’s still an online version, a bit scaled back, but all the important stuff is there. (Also – Post-Intelligencer? Coolest newspaper name ever.)
My first job in publishing was at a newspaper, the Denton Record-Chronicle. Not nearly as large or prestigious as the PI, sure, but still a paper that has been around for a century or so. I loved it. There was just something very romantic and cool about working for a newspaper. Like, Clark Kent works for a newspaper. Lois Lane works for a newspaper. How awesome is that? I wasn’t even a reporter, I just worked on the technical side of things, but it was hard not to get a little exciting walking through the newsroom. And if it weren’t for that job, I don’t know what I’d be doing today. The DR-C broke the useless retail cycle for me. Now if it had paid more than a useless retail job I’d still be there, but I digress.
Like KC says, I’m not going to miss the paper editions. Aside from glancing over a few stories in the break room while I’m waiting for the copier to work its magic, I rarely pick one up. But newspapers serve a vital purpose in actually reporting news. Over the past few years, more and more incidents like the recent Jon Stewart (heart!) vs Jim Cramer interview have clearly shown that television journalism is a ridiculous joke that only serves to mis-inform, entertain, and polarize people. If real news services disappear we’ll be headed more and more headlong into Idiocracy territory.
So while I don’t necessarily mourn the demise of the print newspaper, I do hope they can figure out a way to make it profitable and maintain a respectable level of news reporting.