I went looking for some reaction to the news that the Seattle Post-Intelligencer was probably going to be closed soon — and went, logically enough, to the P-I website, where I found this blog by David Horsey.
Is it a good thing that the newspapers we grew up with are all going away? Well, maybe not. But in a very real sense they went away long ago, starting with the afternoon newspaper as an institution, when television news came in in the 1950s. But then, with a long enough view, you can see that the newspapers have always been going away. That is, they have changed with the times, like everything else. The closest things we have today to the newspapers that filled so important a role in the days of colonial and revolutionary America are today’s blogs. They’re highly opinionated, often derivative, frequently unreliable and deeply interesting in the way that anything individual tends to be more interesting than anything corporate. They think nothing of copying and passing on information from other sources — I do it all the time, with proper attribution — and they certainly make no pretense of objectivity. Compare that to your morning paper!
Still it is natural to regret the passing of the buggy whip or the Stanley Steamer, especially if you have made your career producing them. And the passing of the newspaper as we know it doesn’t mean that we will anytime soon find a corporate — hence, sustainable — alternative. But, something will come around. Needs seem to fill themselves.