Monday, October 26, 2009

More Horse Manure?

The New York Times reports that this year, newspaper sales dropped sharply lower to about 10 percent in the six months ending Sept. 30, compared with the same period last year, as disclosed by figures released on Monday by the Audit Bureau of Circulation.

To read the article:

The linked article referenced The Wall Street Journal as having actually increased circulation. It has my become my primary print news source, for many reasons. The Dallas Morning News circulation has plummeted, and that's too bad, but I suppose inevitable. When he toured the U.S. in the 1830s, Alexis de Tocqueville noted that, rich or poor, town or country, you could find a newspaper in virtually every American home, and he viewed that is not only good, but part of the American character to be well informed. Most of those 19th Century papers were intensely partisan, but were balanced because there was nearly at least one for every political stripe. Today, of course, we have many other sources for news and comment – even to the point of it being an embarrassment of riches. Unfortunately, radio and television reduces the information to incomplete sound bites that can easily mislead those who have not the time or inclination to fact check. The internet is somewhat better, but the short news cycle and the surfeit of information tends to force important stories into the background sooner than they should be. And there is the factual reliability. If print journalism goes the way of the horse and wagon have in our transportation system, we will be so much the poorer. At least the coming of the automobile eliminated most of the horse manure in our society; the end of print journalism seems bound to increase it.

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