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Friday, August 9, 2013

Would We Miss Our Local Newspaper?

I was shocked when I heard that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos had purchased the Washington Post. I did not know that the newspaper had suffered seven years of consecutive profit losses. The newspaper spent an awful lot of money providing secondhand news. The era of big time newspapers is going digital in order to survive. There’s not a good plan to make people buy online content.

Newspaper circulation has been down since the seventies, as more people are getting their news from television. Some online services are providing news, but they don’t have any reporters, so they will follow the path of the print editions because that’s where they get their stories. The Huffington Post and Politico do have full time reporters, so they serve as models of where we will get our news. People on Twitter and Facebook will also play a prominent role in leading us to a good source for the news of the day.

I still subscribed to the Victoria Advocate, but it’s more out of habit than anything else. The Advocate provides a lot of its content online for free. The digital version is great, and it provides a lot  handy features. I don’t spend a lot of time reading the local newspaper, but I don’t fault our paper because I probably wouldn’t be reading the Houston Chronicle all that much either.

My older friends still subscribe to the Victoria Advocate but my children don’t. We have to provide all the death notices and other local tidbits to them if they happened to miss it on the free online version. Of course there’re busy and don’t rely as much on “breaking use” as an old retiree with nothing better to do.

I can remember sharing an Advocate at work, but we would have to wait for certain sections and then trade off. That’s no longer necessary with the digital version, and you can copy and paste an article or email it to yourself for future reference. The digital version will certainly save some trees, and reduce the carbon footprint, but it would also disappoint those who rely on the printed version. I can see the local newspaper staying afloat a bit longer than the larger city papers because of the local appeal people can’t get anywhere else.

I hear a lot of loving the feel of a newspaper or a good book and I can relate to that, but I think that’s more of a feeling of simpler times that we don’t want to let go of.

Some experts are saying that newspapers will be extinct in 10 years, but most think that’ll be sooner than that. It’ll go the way of the land line, phone books, address books, and photo albums. My doctor doesn’t need to give me an appointment card anymore because as soon as they tell me the date and time of my next appointment, I input that information into my cell phone. I sort of got the hint of what’s happening locally when I called to complain because I had  not received  my morning newspaper. The person on the other line didn’t seem too upset nor did they try to be accommodating saying that because of gasoline prices, they could only credit my account because it would be cost prohibitive to send someone out with another paper. They did encourage me to get a digital version, which I already had.

I don’t know, but it’s my opinion that alternative news is giving a platform for a lot of racist comments. I’m an old guy who grew up in a pre- civil rights era, but I’ve never seen so much racial hatred as there is today. Not the lynching but the rhetoric is there. Perhaps that’s a topic for a Saturday rant.


Mike said...

Great press conference.
A fired up President Obama wants to know why GOP wants to shut down government over providing health insurance for 30 million Americans

Mike said...

Power has been down in Tanglewood since,1:30"PM .

Hi winds knocked down a tree over a transformer.

Hot and sweaty ...:-(

born2Bme said...

where I live, the power flicked off but came right back on. I had to reset phone, turn computer back on, and let directv reset. I hate when that happens.
I feel for you, Mike. It's no fun going without power for that long.