Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Today's WORD: Social Necessity

Don’t Let Newspapers Die

“[T]oo many of us fail to understand what that death would mean, believing newspapers provide no service they can’t get elsewhere. But there is a reason [Larry] Craig and [Kwame] Kilpatrick were not taken down by CNN or the local TV news. Local TV news specializes in crime, weather and sports. CNN has a national purview. Even the Internet primarily synthesizes reporting done in other media.

“No, only the local paper performs the critical function of holding accountable the mayor, the governor, the local magnates and potentates, for how they spend your money, run your institutions, validate or violate your trust. If newspapers go, no other entity will have the wherewithal to do that.”

—Leonard Pitts Jr., Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist,
The Mi
ami Herald. Click here for this column.

Editorial Comment: Ignorance ain’t bliss.


  1. Key word … LOCAL. Now, when I get my morning Orlando Sentinel, I skip the A section entirely, except for the opinion pages. I’ve already gotten everything on the World and National stage from my many “updates”. To Pitts’ point, the salvation of the newspaper might be in scaling back to just local news and doing away with all of the unnecessary stuff … so called “Lifestyle” features like food, fashion, entertainment, and maybe even sports.


  2. Not to mention that most radio/TV news directors feel that the subjects covererd in the newspaper are too boring for their Instant BrainMeal audience, which is bred on short, punchy, messy stories that do little more than make the viewer/listener glad it didn't happen to them. Try explaining "millage" on the radio. We did it in the sixties in Chicago..but not lately.


  3. Pitts is an excellent writer and thinker. I trust he knows that most local papers fail in the necessary tasks he mentions, almost as badly as do the local broadcasters.

  4. But...but... the chains justified their high prices for papers they bought, by offering the "efficiency" of doing away with much local news. They also destroyed local advertisers by offering volume discounts to national brands.

  5. Ted, when I ran for Mayor I checked and fewer than 50% of Providence citizens took the Herald Journal—this in the city with the highest per capita income in the valley. Because of that I did no newspaper advertising and did everything through direct mail.