Wednesday, October 02, 2013

National Newspaper Week: Symbolic of a problem?

I just got done going to the website for National Newspaper Week, which is Oct. 6-12.

First, the cartoons.

Two of them specifically talk about the sports section, which is arguably one of the more problematic spots in hardcopy in daily papers, especially larger ones. There's that massive amount of space demanded for agate for box scores. Then, most papers continue to have a page 2 box that lists sports on TV and radio, something that's not done for science programs, either classical or modern music programs or anything else. And, the biggest dailies, like the Dallas Morning News, have dumped almost all of their high school stuff on paywalled websites now, for that reason, on issue No. 1.

It's also funny in another way, and sad in yet another.

Funny? All the ads that show a newspaper still show the old hardcopy; not a one has a person at a computer, tablet, etc.

Sad? All the ones that have people in them? All white folks.

Nostalgia dies hard. (Of course, a certain newspaper editor in Manchester, Conn., might like those cartoons. No, he didn't mention race, just single moms, but ... )

Especially when the week concludes with Newspaper Carrier Day, as if we're still celebrating kids throwing newspapers out of bags, and collecting the monthly dues later in the month.

The columns and op-eds?

Lamar Alexander? Puhleese. ANY U.S. elected official who has not robustly opposed the Patriot Act, NSA spying, etc., has no fucking business writing a column for this. Even worse, he explicitly mentions the First Amendment in his column.

I am officially disgusted, and appalled that the National Newspaper Association gave him this platform. And, I counted at least halfway to 10, then emailed relevant officials. (And as of yet, have not heard back from them.)

Beyond that, the rest of the op-eds are kind of fun. They do talk about what newspapers can and often do still do write. But, they're sad in another way, namely in the amount of "spinning" they do about financial-related issues.

The suburban Dallas dailies I was at for years didn't promote National Newspaper Week a lot. If we did anything out in Odessa, it was purely ad-driven, so I didn't built any pages for it. I wonder if other politicos have, sadly, been given column space like this before?

I mean, the whole thing is another "sign of the times."

It's not ironic, it's hypocritical in extremis to have cartoons, and maybe other columns, talking about newspapers as watchdogs, and as purveyors of public information, then this.