My remote-controlled newspaper did arrive. For a split second I almost liked it and then quickly realized it was just more style over substance, and not that pleasing of a style at that.
But the worst part is that the type is nearly microscopic. And once again (it’s been done more than once before) the newspaper is actually skinnier (not as wide).
Strange, when the core readership of the actual paper edition of the newspaper is people my age (60) and older (maybe some slightly younger too (basically baby boomers and older).
Ironically, there was a story about an area community college student, a man 50 years old looking to get out of the dry wall work in which he was injured, who has started up a college newspaper. He was quoted as saying: “A huge amount of people, myself included, trust paper more than the internet. I like something I can put my hands on.”
I would add that I like something that is not a machine that I have to worry that will go on the fritz or that I cannot get onto the internet with, or that I don’t have to pay an internet access fee with, and that is comfortable to read.
So, anyway, my local newspaper is dying kind of a slow agonizing death. It’s kind of like the old Saturday Night Live thing when Franco of Spain died and the Spanish government waited so long to admit it. The news on each SNL spoof news show was “Franco is still dead”.
The news today is that the Redding (Ca.) Record Searchlight is still dying.
My original blog on this latest turn of events follows:
And so I await the arrival of that local newspaper that I already blogged was all but dead. The copy that is to arrive this morning is one that is actually, through the marvels of modern technology, put together — edited, laid out — thousands of miles and several states away from my home town. The new remote-controlled newspaper, if you will.
For some strange reason, due to the march of technology, declining readership and declining advertising, we can no longer have a completely locally-produced paper.
We’ve been told, warned that the paper will have a new look and that it will have an expanded state and national and world report — and the type will be a bit smaller (make it any smaller than it already is and I’ll have to buy a magnifying glass).
(We went through this new look thing already a couple of years ago. It was not an improvement. In fact, it was downright ugly — but we got used to it.)
When I first began reading the local paper — even before I lived in the community where I live now (lived close by) — it was ugly, a hodgepodge of vertically stacked stories, most of them off the wire, with a smattering of local news (but in reality, probably as much local news as there is today — and far more state and national and world news).
Then the appearance began to improve and so did the local reporting (or so I thought, anyway).
And at its high point — when I was working on a smaller community paper in the area — an editor with the bigger local paper bragged that he could send ten or more staffers out whenever an important local news story broke.
Today, that editor is, I think, semi-retired and writes a weekly baseball card column on the sports page.
The paper today cannot send out ten staffers on a moment’s notice — I don’t think is has that many. I only see one or two bylines most of the time, and I see a lot of “contributor” bylines, which means the stuff is all but free and done by amateurs.
While I am sure not as many people read as they used to, I still think people want news.
It just seems that the supply and demand model does not work well for newspapers or news.
News has been relatively free for so long the public (including me) is resistant to paying for it (or may not be able to).
Then again, no one seems to be offering up a lot either.
This morning I shall find out what the Redding (Ca.) Record Searchlight has to offer.
I don’t expect much.
Please let me be wrong.
I’ll let you know.