The Day the Newspapers Died
Newspaper died last week.
Specifically, at 3 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, when Barack Obama texted his selection of Joe Biden as Vice President to the world.
Now, the death of newspapers is not exactly new-news.
Newspapers have been mortally wounded for probably half a decade. Sure, they’ve tried everything from color photos to shorter stories to keep people interested. And as the squeeze continued, they’ve resorted not just to thinner pages to stay viable.
They’ve also resorted—and we are not making this up—to higher newsstand prices.
Just two weeks ago, The New York Times raised its price 25c. If you weren’t going to pay $1.25 for a weekday edition, you probably didn’t bite at $1.50, either.
No matter what they do, newspapers are going the way of the compact disk, or, before that, the long-playing record; or before that, the orchestras that played in music halls, which was how people heard new music before the phonograph came along.
And like most gray-hairs who straddle the old economy and the new, we have mixed feelings about that fact.
A weekend morning with lots of coffee, free time and all the papers we can get—The Journal, The Times, Barron’s, and especially our Newspaper of Record, the New York Post—is our idea of a good way to start the day.
So when we bicycled up to Mike’s this past Saturday morning for the papers, with the selection of Joe Biden already on our cell phone, we were looking forward to getting our hands on every paper in sight—even the Boston Globe and the Hartford Courant—to get the whole story. And of course not one paper had it, because, the actual news was only four hours old.
Now, four hours in Internet-Time may seem like about how long the dinosaurs roamed the earth. But in Newspaper-Time, it’s barely long enough to get the printing presses warmed up.
We didn’t bother getting anything but the Post. And that’s why, if it’s worth putting a date on the actual event, Saturday August 24 is probably as a good a day as any to mark the Day the Newspapers Died.
Jeff Matthews I Am Not Making This Up © 2008 NotMakingThisUp, LLC
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