Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Well, this should ...

... piss some people off: Black and white and read not much longer.

Though it really shouldn't, because much of what Roger says is quite accurate. Blogs have not been the cause newspapers' decline, and they won't replace them, either. I think that Roger has underestimated the extent to which newspapers in recent years have chosen punditry and "analysis" over hard reporting - and the latter, as blogger Glenn Reynolds has repeatedly proclaimed, is newspapers' trump card. The intellectual mediocrity and lack of imagination of those running newspapers also should not be overlooked as a major contributing factor to their decline.
But I don't think newspapers are going to completely disappear. Two that I think are going to thrive are the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. I also think Roger underestimates blogs a bit. Specialist blogs - law blogs, for instance - provide information and expertise newspapers would be hard-pressed to match. That said, the world will be a poorer place because of the decline of newspapers.


  1. Thank you, Frank, for that discerning read of the post about blogs on my -- omigod! -- blog. I, too, think that specialist blogs -- I refer to them as blogs on "this and that and the other thing" -- will thrive and probably evolve. I agree also that it will probably piss some people off. It was meant to. Happy New Year.

  2. I think newspapers will thrive in the future, but they will thrive on the Internet.

    I believe that it is only a matter of time (20, 30 years?) before print editions die out, or become very limited in number.

    I believe that increasing paper, production and distribution costs will eventually drive the newspaper to the Internet.

    Readers will also want to receive all of their news and information online by then, and some polls say that most young people today read all of their news and information online.

    I believe that specialized blogs have and will have a place (I begin a weekly espionage blog next month for the Weider History Group), but they are not a replacement for newspapers.

    I believe that in the future, as now, the biggest and the best news offered on the web will be the mainstream newspapers in their Internet editions.

    I'm old-fashioned, so I enjoy my daily Philadelphia Inquirer in print, but I also read another half dozen newspapers online, as well various blogs and online magazines (I write two online crime columns).

    I think that print newspapers will go the way of village storytellers and town criers, but the newspaper organizations will thrive by shifting their resources and product to the Internet.

    Paul Davis

  3. Anonymous10:44 AM

    I cannot take Roger's claims seriously at all, when he foolishly (and ignorantly) clings to the false belief that all blogs are parasitic. In a previous thread, I pointed out to this ignoramus that I had indeed been the first to break news stories (such as the passing of David Foster Wallace and Octavia Butler, to name only two big stories): not through linking to a newspaper (and I actually agree with him that this is not journalism), but by picking up the phone, calling medical examiners, and conducting ACTUAL reporting. I have done this for countless other stories. Indeed, for DFW, we were the ones to tip off the L.A. Times and the Associated Press. (We wanted to make sure they covered it too.)

    Unsurprisingly, I received no response from this shit-talking coward.

    You want to talk online journalism? I have conducted more than 250 interviews in the past four years for the Bat Segundo Show. Books were read, questions were researched, and unexpected answers that nobody else had thought to obtain were had.

    But of course, since Roger exists in his hopelessly myopic bubble, he'll only generalize to support his veneer-thin argument. And like the Michael Dirdas, the Lee Siegels, and the Andrew Keens, he'll never cite specific examples or frame his position with both good and bad in mind.

    By Roger's rhetorical standards, it can be likewise argued that, in self-publishing his novel, INVISIBLE HERO, he is not a real novelist. That he could be seriously considered a novelist because he could not find a proper publishing channel. If Roger cannot gain the attention -- and, what is more, the respect -- of his intended audience, what good is he?

    Yes, this framing is cold, ignorant of the fact that James Joyce and Alexander Dumas self-published, and needlessly tendentious. But that's precisely the same position that Roger has espoused with his drivel. And so long as Roger continues with this obdurate nonsense, I will happily declare Roger K. Miller "not a novelist." It is indeed to laugh.

  4. Anonymous9:00 PM

    Gulp . . .