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Well, I am attempting the sensational headline…but it MUST be true! I read it on the Net. If even the news that isn’t fit to print is no longer being printed, then what is the future of the hometown paper? The Weekly World News is actually folding, because their readership has fallen under 90,000. Yes, these are the people who brought us the original Batboy and numerous laughs at the checkout counter. No, I am not suggesting that the literary world will suffer without this not-too-prestigious publication [I consider the Washington Post’s description as “The most creative newspaper in American history” both arguable and amusing]. But I do think it illustrates to even casual news readers that the status of print journalism is in danger. What’s next? The Enquirer? The Post? Time?
At the very least, local papers are definitely suffering because of the webmedia blitz going on in the nation and so are their readers. I subscribe to my local newspaper and read it every morning. It’s a ritual I generally enjoy. [if i get to read in peace with strong coffee by my side] More and more often I am annoyed by the lack of worthwhile copy that is actually printed. I swear the paper itself is being brainwashed by its own advertisements. The more fashion ads that are printed, the thinner the paper actually gets. Sometimes entire sections are dominated by ads, which of course is what is keeping the paper financially afloat, with a story or two squeezed in here and there… probably to fill whitespace not covered by ads. The “news” that is generally deemed “fit” often covers the same few topics that are rotated on the local and national TV news. When I do find articles/stories to read, I am constantly also finding spelling and grammatical errors [which tend to frustrate me]. Many moons ago, I read the same paper during my high school journalism class and found similar errors for fun.
So, is it worth it to keep subscribing when I can so easily turn on the tube or search the web for news/features/info I really want to read? Well, I will keep supporting my local newspaper, and probably keep complaining about it too. I do believe in the power of the press. This nation owes a lot to that estate and I hope we do not forget it too soon.
However, we are also continuously subjected to liars and thieves who seem to think that the reading public is dumb and will believe anything that they read! Who are these pseudo-journalists who assume that their career/opinion/ego deserve a greater boost than the Truth? The majority of journalists and writers are, of course, honest and hardworking citizens. They are also victims of liars like Private Beauchamp and Stephen Glass. The general public is not going to waste their precious time reading news media when they cannot trust it. They would rather hear about Paris’ latest adventure in Reality World because, as sordid as it may seem, it is generally true, aside from a few minor details. So the Star is probably safe for now, The New Republic is going to the dogs, and we can cross our fingers for the Post. And Batboy will always live on in the world of web.