Monday, May 04, 2009

Newspaper Dirge

The New York Times is about to shut down the Boston Globe, the Baltimore Sun announced it's laying off 61 staff members, and I spent 20 minutes discussing why we don't need newspapers with My Luddite Friend. I was playing devil's advocate to her defense, but the truth is I love my LA Times and would hate to be without it.

It's a book: Anachronistic Media and the Women Who Love Them ... It ... Whatever.

My Luddite Friend says we need local papers to inform us of things we wouldn't know, like an accounting scandal at a neighboring city.

"I'll see it on the local news," I say.

"Not a big enough story for TV," she says.

"Then why do I care?"

"Because you should know, as a citizen, that these things happen. You should know so you can demand accountability and transparency from your own city."

"But now that you've told me, I don't care. I'm not going to demand anything from my own city. If I wanted to be involved in local politics I'd go to city council meetings, but I don't."

We don't really talk like this. I've taken out all the "Well....'s," the "um's," the "Shit...never mind's," and all that.

My bottom line is that we're lazy. Give me the news with the least possible hassle. If all I have to do is push a button and sit through a few commercials, I'm fine with that. The LA Times is for browsing through during those dumb commercials. If a news story about an accounting scandal in a neighboring city makes the news, I'll probably flip through the Times during that segment, too.

For me, the newspaper is entertainment, not anything that's going to make me a better citizen.

Maybe we get the news we deserve.

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