Sacred Disorder | Cliff Bostock's blog – 'Finally, I came to regard as sacred the disorder of my mind' (Rimbaud)

All across the nation….

Speaking of dying newspapers, the New York Times paints a gloomy picture of bankruptcies, closings and cutbacks across the nation. There’s this about the attempt to go digital:

For more than two centuries, newspapers have been the indispensable source of public information and a check on the abuses of government and other powerful interests. And they still reach a vast and growing audience. Daily print circulation has dropped from a peak of 62 million two decades ago to around 49 million, and online readership has risen faster, to almost 75 million Americans and 3.7 billion page views in January, according to Nielsen Online.

But no one yet has unlocked the puzzle of supporting a large newsroom purely on digital revenue, a fact that may presage an era of news organizations that are smaller, weaker and less able to fulfill their traditional function as the nation’s watchdog.

The last sentence made me laugh, since many in the press have not only given up the role of watchdog but have become virtual stenographers for the people they should be “watching.” Actually, “colluders” — in, for example, Bush’s lies about weapons of mass destruction — might be more accurate than “stenographers.”

A friend drew my attention to the article and cited this comment in particular:

I’ve been addicted to newspapers since about the time I learned to read, with the San Francisco Chronicle’s steady diet of columns, comics and crime as the favored educator of my youth, dotted liberally with morning toast, juice and egg yolk. I graduated from the Chronicle to the Boston Globe to the Los Angeles Times to the New York Times (the latter mostly online, I must admit) as I criss-crossed the country for school, work and family. Along the way, I honed my writing and reporting skills at various dailies and weeklies, discovering in journalism the keenest answer to my insatiable appetite for news, writing, and digging for the truth. It was an exhilarating journey. Little did I guess after being laid off twice that it was the end, not only for me, but for the mighty industry I used to marvel could never be stopped, not by earthquakes, riots, floods, fires, or terrorist threats; the presses just kept on rolling and, I presumed, always would. How could I have foreseen that just a few years after I exited the scene, Everest-sized debts and public and government indifference and inaction would sink this mighty media ship? The outcry should be thunderous, much greater than for the possible fall of Bank of America and General Motors. But all I hear is the sound of silence. Where is our rescue package?

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