Saturday, March 28, 2009

Newspapers Columnists Tiltling at Bloggers - Pointless

Hardly a day goes by that I don't come across a newspaper columnist whining about the sad state of print journalism, and about how bloggers are a parasitic menace that threaten the very existence of the newspaper industry. Cry me a river guys. The way newspaper Op/Ed writers go on you'd think the demise of print journalism is threatening the very fabric of western society. The most recent diatribe I came across was from Barb Shelly of the Kansas City Star.

In her little rant she complains bitterly about the Huffington Post, which she says 'shamelessly cribs notes from the mainstream media'. That's what newspaper columnists do, and bloggers are no different. She ends her little crying fit with the rhetorical question: What will bloggers will do 'when the tap of actual reporting runs dry'.

Do employees of newspapers actually think they're the only source for news? In point of fact newspapers provide very little in the way of timely reporting. When the Fox network aired that tasteless segment on 'Red Eye' ridiculing Canada's military, bloggers were all over it long before a single print story hit the streets. I blogged about it on Sunday March 22nd, a full day before anything appeared in a newspaper on the subject. Pity the poor hack whose column appears on Thursdays...many continued commenting on Fox's tasteless show long after the subject had been beaten to death.

Do newspaper columnists honestly think they're the only people who should be allowed to comment on things like politics and current events because they gather news? By the time papers hit the newsstands the "news" has already been reported via TV, on radio and across the Internet. Instead of constantly whining and crying about bloggers, newspapers need to do some serious thinking about how to make their businesses viable again.

I'm not unsympathetic to the plight of fourth estate, in fact I typically read 2 or 3 different Toronto dailies each week, with my favourite being The Sun. But its time newspapers woke up to the fact that their "reporting" of news is almost totally redundant in this digital age. People enjoy newspapers for things like the crossword puzzle, the comics...and yes, columnists. But news??? Print can't compete with television, 24/7 radio news stations and obviously the Internet. So why bother trying?

I'm sure there were a lot of ticked off Town Criers around when newspapers started hitting the streets, leaving them to find a new profession that called for the ringing of a bell . Newspapers will have to learn to adapt or they'll join the yellers of 'Hear Ye, Hear Ye' on the trash heap of history.

Comments are welcomed and feel free to pass this along via email or through a social network like FaceBook, just click on the ‘Share’ icon below.

No comments: