Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Life on the Information Superhighway

In the last stages of the last election, as I have written about, I inundated myself with seemingly every piece of news there was out there.

Strangely, I have not watched a cable news channel or Googled "Sarah Palin" once in weeks.

But while I was absorbing all sorts of political stuff - useful or not - it was not in a print newspaper. If it was online, I read it.

They've got this thing now, called the RSS feed. I have no clue, but I gather it's the way people gather together what they read on line. I preferred clicking from the Huffington Post to Daily Kos, to Politico.com, to CNN.com ... endlessly searching for something.

I don't know what it was, but obviously I found it.

Last night on the Daily Show, Jon Stewart was remarking about Obama's weekly 'radio' address being on YouTube. See it here.

Stewart, of course, was mocking it being on YouTube. But it seems the only way to go nowadays. As of this writing, it had 802,464 views. And that's not counting people who watched it on his website.

And I wonder how many people would know about vice presidential candidates' gaffes, veiled inferences as to patriotism, or clothing purchases, if not for constant scrutiny by web places like those I mentioned above, along with the cable news channels that showed part, if not all, of stump speeches by McCain, Obama, and Palin?

As you may have read (and as the Globe North editor pointed out to me), the Globe recently laid off 42 people. The Flint Journal is in a similar spiral - as someone has said, print newspapers are circling the drain.

It's all been said, ad nauseum, in the obituary of print journalism.

Do you remember when you could pull up your chair to a nice plate of Spam and eggs and read the newspaper while you ate?

Do you remember rock and roll radio?

Sometimes I think I liked in better when I lived in blissful ignorance ... but still wanted to make people not so ignorant (if that even makes any sense).


Dick Monahan said...

Even though I'm not in the newspaper industry, I'm depressed about its problems because I'm a fan. I read 2 daily and 4 weekly papers.

Blogs are wonderful, but they get 99 and 44/100s of their input from the real news organizations.

We need someone to come up with a business model that provides a place for real journalists. It could be something like AP (which is also a shadow of its former self), but who's going to pay the bill?

Gillian Swart said...

We should hire a lobbyist to get an earmark ... but then, who would fund the lobbyist?

Actually, Dick, I thought it would be real hard to go out and cover a story as a blogger (no one would take it seriously), but then last week, someone asked me if I was covering a local event for my blog ...

When I started this, I kind of wanted to do "real" journalism. But with a readership of 12 (that's my estimate), who's going to run ads and such on this blog?

Perhaps I underestimated the potential.

Ari Herzog said...

I don't read newspapers. Not the printed kind, anyway. And once my magazine subscriptions expire, I'm not renewing.

95% of my news comes online, not necessarily news sites either. Mostly from word of mouth in its various forms, including RSS. The remaining 5% comes from C-SPAN and CNN.

I can suggest many models for local and regional newspapers to follow. However, based from previous attempts of communication with the Daily News, they refuse to listen. That's a shame.