Anyone who is at all interested in the revolution underway in the news media as the result of the internet should make blog guru Jeff Jarvis daily reading. His post the other day reminded me of a comment I hear a lot these days about our daily paper - how thin it's gotten. It seems the Saturday and Monday editions are just one step away from being a glorified pamphlet. Here is Jarvis' observation:
I was in Detroit on business Monday and thanks to many too many hours in the airport, I picked up the Free Press (where I once interned) and the Detroit News. I was shocked at how thin they were in every sense of the word: few pages and not much in them. We in New York don’t see just how desperate the situation is becoming for metro papers in much of the rest of the country because we have more than five of them in the area. Detroit should be luckier than most with two. But the two of them don’t add up to much.
Then a reader named Spencer Hill replies:
I quit reading newspapers on a regular basis a few years ago. Fifteen years ago one of our local dailies Florence (SC) Morning News was all wire stories, nothing local. The quality of information of my surrounding newspapers Charleston, Columbia, Myrtle Beach just do not have the news that they had 20 years ago. I believe newspapers have lost their market through apathy rather than competition. When I read a local or regional paper I want information I can use - whats happening at town hall? school districts? local sports? Papers in my area seemed to have lost interest in pursuing corruption in politics or championing causes. They are the same as every other channel of news - bland.
Newspapers could get this market back. They do not have to be thick, just filled with great content. They need to define themselves as news organizations that sell ads than a publisher with ad revenue.
Are you listening, Springfield Newspapers?
While I was in rehab I had little access to newspapers and outside information. It's an isolation they impose on purpose in order to force you to look inward at your own messed up self instead of escaping by focusing on the rest of the world. Since I've returned to the wider world I keep discovering things that have happened while I was institutionalized. I'm saddened to learn that in October the legendary Valley Republican activist Bill Barbeau died. Despite years of constant discouragement as a Republican in this state, Bill never lost faith in the effort to restore a functioning two party democracy to Massachusetts.
I'm also saddened to hear of the impending closing of the Blue Moon coffeeshop on Sumner Avenue in Springfield. It was originally located in Indian Orchard, where it was big success. However, a landlord who was greedier than they were smart drove them out with constant rent increases. It was never quite as successful in the new location. Speaking frankly as a gay male, some of the best pieces of ass in Springfield used to go there. Oh yeah, and the coffee was pretty good too. Sigh, another piece of Springfield culture bites the dust.
I was fooling around with my camera in the engineering library at UMass today when I accidentally shot this view of the world as seen past my Conz.
It was a good day to sit inside a library. As they say over in Salem Massachusetts, it's colder out there than a witch's tit.