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Thursday, September 13, 2018

All The News That's Fit to Print: Eulogy for a dying media

The NYTimes and one of its special inserts






It was Benjamin Harris of Boston who, in 1690, published Public Occurrences, the first newspaper in America. While it lasted just one issue, it was the beginning of the most informative media ever.

This is a look at that media in all its glory, the irony being that as it gets better, it still dies in the hearts and minds of today's world, replaced by the internet, that snot-nosed little kid, Social Media and its siblings.

Newspaper readership today is just half the number that read in the mid 1970s. And of those newspapers, less than half are today published daily.

Newspapers, however, still have a unique place. They are overwhelmingly honest and sincere in coverage of all the news, no matter how they are tarred by the President.  They are honest, albiet with an editorial voice that expresses a specific view point at times. There is no made-up news, quite unlike social media where users are allowed to say anything without check.

All newspapers have suffered the loss of readers and advertisers by glitzier competition that does have its place, but nothing covers more local and national news as newspapers,  Today's people just have more options to choose from and more things to do than read a newspaper. That's life.

However, to salute the power to be important, there are few that do it as well as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and others like them, most in major markets where there is the population and are advertisers that help make them go.

Where I live, my very fine local paper is published only twice a week. It covers important local news really well. But I still fork out $6.41 every Sunday for The NY Times. It remains a full-day read of 5 or 6 sections, feature stories as well as news, plus a  highly regarded book review magazine and The NYTimes magazine with a crossword that could last far longer. No comics though.

It has many special sections like the impressive one shown here, Sunday In the Park, a 16-pager pulled together by 10 photographers and reporters to feature all 117 people enjoying the Sheep Meadow section of Central Park in the heart of Manhattan on a warm summer Sunday. It is filled with special interest and people personality... and the tiny stories that wouldn't see the light of day if it weren't for newspapers. It is a treat to enjoy. Take that Facebook. Newspapers have staff to do that stuff... and be held responsible.

Here's how the pros do it

The overview of A Sunday in the Park, 4 feet wide unfolded
The other side... the people close up with comments
Another take on newspapers: Today's Riddle: What is black and white and red all over?

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