On Newspapers And Such

It's soapbox day here at TNIAAM and I've got one more thing sticking in my craw.  So gather round the campfire so grandpa here can force his opinions on yer.

You probably heard a couple weeks back the Rocky Mountain News, in business since 1859, printed it's last newspaper.  Just yesterday, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer began the process of "reinventing" itself as a web-only news source.  Word on the street is that quite a few more newspapers are on their way out as well, including the Philadelphia Daily News, The Miami Herald, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Boston Globe and San Francisco Chronicle.  The great newspaper purge that many have been predicting for years is finally happening.

It's never fun to hear about long-standing companies going out of business and thousands of people losing their jobs in the process.  As a sports fan, it's disheartening to see so many papers changing that, although I didn't read them often, we're a constant source of information for teams in the many leagues and games I follow.

But therein lies the operative word...changing.  Not disappearing.  Changing.  Yes, some of these papers are going out of business but for most of them, the Seattle P-I route is the one you'll be seeing more and more of.  Those that go out of business do so as harbingers of old-school news organizations who didn't read the writing on the wall quick enough.

We're not all going to start carrying Kindles with us and shunning the printed word by the end of the week but we are beyond the point of no return for an antiquated form of information dissemination like a printed newspaper.  The world moves way too fast and educated/passionate opinions are too widely available.  It's science or something.

I hear you out there, Dad.  "I like to read a newspaper in the morning.  I like to read it on my commute and flip through it on the john."   I know you do.  But that has more to do with the fact that it's what you've been doing your whole life and not because you actually really, really love to read a physical newspaper.  The same way you once said you'll never be one of those people who has a cell phone...or e-mails...or texts...or Facebooks...or shops online...or Twitters...  You will get used to getting your news in other ways.  And if you won't, the next generation will.  Especially as the necessity of our world makes it easier and better to do so.

For Syracuse fans, the question now is will the Post-Standard be joining the ranks of the printless, or perhaps even disappear altogether?  I have no idea what the financial situation of the P-S is and I have no factual basis to go off of.  But I don't think it's going anywhere.  Surely, the day will come down the road when they will cease printing physical newspapers and become strictly an online news source but I don't think that's happening anytime soon.  Here's why...

Look at all of the newspapers failing or moving to the online space.  Look at the markets.  Denver, Seattle, Philly, New York, Miami, etc.  What do all of those markets have in common?  Other than the fact that Donte Greene has probably been traded to a team in all of them at some point, they're all markets with multiple newspapers.  Denver lost the Rocky Mountain News but it still has the Denver Post.  Seattle is losing the P-I but it still has the Seattle Times.  New York, Philly, Miami...these cities have tons of daily newspapers going at the same time.

If this recession is about anything, it's about recognizing what we NEED versus what we have.  Circuit City just went out of business, leaving Best Buy as the lone national electronics mega-ultra-superstore still afloat.  Is it unfair that one of those companies had to fail?  Or is that we really only NEEDED one in the first place?

Earlier this month, Syracuse TV station WTVH ended it's news team operation after 60 years.  A bummer for sure, but then again, with what we all know about the declining TV network business, is it a surprise?  And do we NEED five different local TV news teams for a market like Syracuse? Pretty sure I only need one or two to get all the depressing and suffocating information about my daily existence.

Now apply that to the newspaper industry.  Does your city NEED two or three newspapers or would we do just fine with one?  Well isn't that what's happening?  We're just recalibrating based on the current needs of the people.  So as more and more newspapers go by the wayside, it doesn't mean that the entire newspaper industry is going away.  It just means that it's "readjusting."  Does New York City really need the double-digit amount of newspapers currently printed daily?  Absolutely not.  It's not the prettiest way to look at things, but it's the truth.

So if I had make a guess, I don't think the Post-Standard is going anywhere.  And that's good news for me.  I count on Donnie, Donna, Mike and, yes, even you Bud, for your efforts in providing us with information.  Information that I then take and make fart jokes with.  Without them, I'm just an empty fart joke vessel, floating aimlessly in the ocean of Syracuse sports without a place to pass gas.

Then again, aren't we all?

"Can we get back to videos about Syracuse basketball players making fools of themselves now?"  Yes, back to work...

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