Friday, March 27, 2009

Ho-hum ...

... Confessions of a newspaper junkie.

Mr. Smith is apparently unfamiliar with Michael Yon or Michael Totten. He also doesn't seem aware that Ed Champion was onto the story of David Foster Wallace's death before practically anybody else. Hell, I alerted The Inquirer about John Updike's passing (thanks to an alert from Dave Lull.) The idea that only newspapers can investigate things for us is crap.


  1. Ah yes, but where did Dave Lull get his information from? I agree that the internet is great at rapid dissemination of information, though to me it does not matter who is first to report someone's death, etc. (An ex colleague and distinguished US science reporter moved from TV to radio - an unusual direction. When asked why, he cited the facile nature of TV reporting, and said in his entire career he had never seen any "breaking news" on the TV that could not have waited until the next day's newspaper and been reported properly).
    I am not a wholehearted admirer of the newspapers, but I do know that blogs and the internet cannot support foreign bureaux, investigative journalism, etc. Passing round info is not the same as jouranlism. Personally, I like the quality of my subscription publications and get more from them (in terms of news-based information and analysis) than I do from the internet. I increasingly prefer the internet for "features" such as reviews (eg of books) and other cultural discussion.

  2. Well, most newspapers can't support the foreign bureaus anymore, either. The Inquirer once had a very good foreign staff. No more. The internet is going to change foreign reporting - already has, actually - the way the telegraph did. A breaking-news website, changing from moment to moment thanks to reports fed to it from all over by reputable reporters will make the newspaper obsolete - in terms of breaking news. I find it interesting, Maxine, that you find the internet better as a source for features, since features is the one thing I think could give newspapers a future. The Inquirer is committing suicide, I think, by pillaging its features staff for day old news coverage. I am also not routinely impressed by the quality of the reporting I see. At least in this country.

  3. I agree that newspapers leave a lot to be desired. But I value the independent editing compared with the petulance and impulsiveness of many blog posts. There is the question of how much you can trust the information,also. There are no panaceas, of course. I suppose some new paradigm will come out of it all, as newspapers clearly are failing, for one reason or another.

    There are good features in newspapers, I agree. But book reviews, in particular, seem more prevalent on the internet than they are in the papers. I don't really get why more papers don't have associated online-only book review blogs, but that gap is being filled also.

  4. I think the problem, Maxine - again, at least in this country - is that the people who run the newspapers don't seem aware of how many people are interested in books and reading. And if they haven't heard about it, it can't be important. Of course, that parochial outlook is also why so much newspaper coverage is like a game of Chinese Whispers. So far as I can tell, the papers are much, much better in England.

  5. Mr bleaney5:07 AM

    Hmmm... "independent editing." Maxine, I presume that you are talking about checking to see if someone has made any grammatical miscues, etc., and not about content. Because if you are talking about content, the idea of "independent editing" in most of the liberal metropolitan dailies is a classic oxymoron.

    And we all know that with their "layers of editors and fact-checkers" newspapers (such as the N.Y. Times) continue to print falsehoods that would never get past a competent blogger. The gentlemen cited by Mr. Wilson are excellent examples. The reporting (and that is exactly what it is) by Mr. Yon and Mr. Totten on what is happening in the Middle East goes miles beyond what anybody in the newspapers has attempted to do (from safety of their hotels in the cities).

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