Thursday, September 10, 2009

Out of Print...

The newspaper industry may be the last sign of an era that is phasing out. Papers are ubiquitous. They occupy a place on every corner of every major city in the world, and in the hearts of their citizens. This will soon end. Taking its place is an industry with little use for paper, ink, or cigar chomping reporters. The new information industry will provide updates before the ink on newsprint has had the time to dry.

Time-honored institutions that carry monikers like Daily, Globe, Herald, Tribune, and Times, cannot compete with the electronic devices that time sensitive youth have come to rely upon for their information. They have neither the patience for nor the understanding of attaching sentimentality to their information.

The names Royko, Landers, Bradlee, Bombeck, Jarrett, Payne, Fuller and Lovejoy – will their snarling, inquisitive, straight shot, humorous, and courageous styles of journalism live on? Will the Billy Goat be shuttered in favor of an Internet cafĂ©? Will the sacred, crown jewel of the industry – investigative integrity - be passed along to the next era of media? The ‘State of the Union’ could very well depend on it.

No longer will colorful rows of metal boxes line the streets. No longer will the old-timers emerge from the dark to deliver magazines, papers, and tomorrows Racing Form to anonymous drivers lurching into pockets for change. No longer will they disappear back into their cavernous shacks to stare distantly into the past until another vehicle approaches. In the future, zero dark thirty in America will find the nighthawks scampering to find a trace of the past. A refuge from the cleanly swept memories of ‘open all night’.

I believe it when they say this new age of information is vastly superior to the eras of the past. Much like when Gutenberg revealed what his new invention was capable of. I am sure they will replace silly putty and copy Dick Tracy’s Sunday strip in some electronic way that brings wonder to the eyes of a child. Or cover the bottom of a birdcage with yesterday’s newsprint, and the kitchen floor when Dad brings home a new puppy. Or spending Sunday morning nestled in a cozy bed with the various sections of the paper strewn about the covers - the crossword puzzle half-finished. Yes, they will all be replaced somehow, I just can’t figure out by what.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Thoughts for an upcoming holiday...

Troll the waters of any cable TV, filler content, the uglier the better, sledgehammer of the month 'television news journalist', and you'll find President Barack Obama's head firmly situated on the chopping block. Never mind that he has done little more than save the economy, stock market, auto industry, soon to be health care industry and beyond that, with some leftover mojo, maybe, just maybe - Afghanistan.

November is coming and one of our oldest and most sacred holidays requires millions of farmers to sharpen the axes. The gobblers haven't done anything wrong and neither has Obama, but the fact remains that millions need to be fed, and as much as we love Grandma's gravy, political blood is much tastier when football alone will not take the edge off of the realities of national recovery.

We are an impatient society. We have been given much. It came from back breaking labor of our grandparents, and theirs as well. Their patience and sacrifice have allowed millions to taste the fruits of education and the promise that comes with it. The results have enabled us to move further ahead, and faster than any other time in our brief history.

Now that we are on the brink of unbelievable breakthroughs in medicine, technology, and global partnership, are we willing to trample the gains and spirits of our ancestors in a rush to misjudgement? Consider the story of the Fox and the grapes. Factor this in, Americans are being intimidated, and frightened by the same big, bad, bully who picked on you at school, he was and still is seeking attention.

It's funny, but as Americans accept the holiday time off from work, prepare their feasts and fill their plates high, increasing numbers will dig in before giving thanks for the blessings that have filled their tables. And this year, will we forget the dire predicament this nation was in one year ago, with many whispering 'end of America', and those same television news journalist's shouting 'utter collapse'. Will the man who held the nation together be remembered on the this sacred day? Our day of Thanksgiving?