David Simon and the death of newspapersPosted: Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Esquire magazine long since slid into irrelevancy, but David Simon’s article in the March edition (and online) could practically double as my manifesto:
At the very edge of being rendered irrelevant by the arrival of the Internet — at the precise moment when their very product would be threatened by technology — newspapers will not be intent on increasing and deepening their coverage of their cities, their nation, the world. They will be instead in the hands of out-of-town moneymen offering unfeeling and unequivocal fealty to stockholders and the share price.
And more, which is what I observed from Corporate newspapers in at least two of my hometowns:
I don’t yet see it as a zero-sum game in which a serious newspaper would cover less and less of its city … and favor instead a handful of special select projects designed to catch the admiring gaze of a prize committee.
… Or worse, to try to fool readers into thinking we would actually, you know, “cover” your community. Instead they’d offer these tiny little neighborhood pages and throw out a local blow-out package once a year “filled with the hope that more people will subscribe to a newspaper that manages now and then to run a photo of someone’s kid at the county fair” — as Simon said in the Washington Post about a failed zoned insert from the Baltimore Sun but applicable to my old haunt — and then go back to ignoring you on a daily basis — since it was, um, a daily paper.