Thursday, September 10, 2009

Holiday Getaway and a Death Knell

I loaded up my trusty Triumph and got out of town for a holiday weekend overnight.
So that I would miss the heavy return traffic on the last day of the holiday weekend, I timed my return to take place on the day after.

I stopped for a snack at a gas station and noticed the local newspaper headline. It shouted loudly to me the death knell of the daily paper. The right hand panel read:

"Bridge won't reopen today"

referring to the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge work that closed down the bridge over the weekend. Of course this headline was completely WRONG. The Bridge DID indeed reopen that day. In all fairness to the paper editors, it probably was true that at the time that the paper was being composed, it looked like the bridge would not reopen, so they went ahead and printed that story. Once printed and distributed, you can't change or easily callback all the papers. This shortcoming will be the death of the daily newspaper. Situations can change too quickly for the 12 hour (or whatever it is) printed newspaper issuance cycle. Anyone that heard local news on broadcast television or read an on-line news source got the 'true' story: The Bridge DID reopen that day. The newspaper was wrong.

This isn't to say that the printed newspaper is dead though. I still have a subscription to the Sunday New York Times. I don't subscribe to it for the main news section, I subscribe for the Business, Arts and Books sections and for the weekly 'magazine'. The editors of those sections consistently choose topics that I both find interesting and might not go out of my way to look for. That's the true value of a paper to me, the editor's who are on the lookout where I usually don't explore (no 'wisdom of the crowd' concept applies here).
So despite the rising subscription rates for a paper that's getting thinner every month, I look forward to getting it on Sunday mornings. I hope the death of the daily newspaper doesn't sink the Sunday editions.. what would I do then ? sigh...

No comments: