No news is bad news

Published 13 years ago -  - 13y ago 57

Newspapers are not a dying breed, but they are certainly a wounded animal. We know it, they know it. Otherwise why would they be climbing aboard the Internet bandwagon to sell their wares?

That the print media is taking to the electronic media to keep its head above water is a hard fact. If you doubt this, click into the name of any newspaper and chances are it will be there in all its electronic glory.

This may be good for newspapers, but it is not necessarily good for readers. Instead of getting “reality” or “alternative” news, to counter the mass media pap, newspapers on the Internet will now give us the same doses of sanitized news—but in more depth.

It’s like the newspaper telling us which team won the football game, then the paper on-line telling us how many times the pass receivers dropped the ball, and how often the visiting team fumbled. You know, the more important stuff. Hooray.

If the honchos of the print media were smart they would either (1) take steps to free themselves from the chains of printing “safe” or “managed” news and become more open and rigorously independent or (2) take a “freedom of the press” approach on the Internet (which the net is famous for) and let their papers continue catering to the parochial, non-controversial interests of their local readers.

In a sense, Bob Gabordi, executive editor of the Tallahassee Democrat, has done a bit of this print transfiguration at his newspaper. The masthead and story placement have been “upgraded.” The paper, in fact, has taken on a more modern look. Still, in a personal statement on the editorial page, Gabordi has all but glorified the Internet in its importance to the welfare of their newspaper.

According to Gabordi, more than 400,000 individuals went to in January. That same month, he says, readers viewed more than 5-million pages of information. And more than 80,000 visitors viewed more than a million minutes of viewing time. Small wonder that Gabordi is rubbing elbows with the Internet.

As I see it, however, there is one little problem here. As Gabordi himself reports, a lot of the Democrat’s internet “news” consists in shopping bargains, classified ads, police arrests, college football recruiting, a 2% raise in state workers’ pay, and Governor Bush’s proposed budget.

All are important issues, I’m sure, if Tallahassee, with its football games, student population, state workforce, and canopy roads, was the nerve center of planet Earth. It’s not. So Tallahassee residents are seldom if ever privy to what is REALLY going on in the world around them which does, or soon will, affect us all in one way or another.

But, you say, if readers want THAT kind of news they should be reading USA Today, or the New York Times, or the Washington Post. Unfortunately, the few locals who do read those newspapers won’t get THAT kind of news from them either, so where does that leave us?

Garbori sums up the new function of his newspaper this way: “We’ll go deeper and tell you what (the story) really means, along with details of who is affected, and what you can expect to happen next.” Fair enough.

However, all the news we ever get, I submit, is about what is happening IN our country, but not one word is ever reported about what is happening TO our country.

As for world news, much of it is buried somewhere in the paper, usually near the back pages. And even then, the news we get is about investigation of the ferry which sank in the Red Sea; Muslim protests that upset Beirut; Iran’s referral to the Security Council; and the Pope’s condemnation of abortion.

That is also news about what is happening IN our world, but not one word about what is happening TO our world.

The newspaper tells us absolutely nothing about how a $7-trillion dollar debt is damaging our economy; about what China’s move on the world’s oil supply would do to our cost of living; about how Homeland Security is stealing our freedoms; about the danger our monetary system faces if the Euro replaces the dollar on the world market; about the administration’s REAL reason for a possible invasion of Iran; and about how far our Constitution can be “bent” before the law breaks down completely.

Unfortunately, I suspect the Democrat on the Internet will continue to miss the boat there too. It will fail to give viewers the kind of “full perspective” and “alternative viewpoint” news they need, should get, but don’t, in their print media.

There should be, in my humble opinion, a prominent section, in both the newspaper’s print and on-line, dedicated to day-by-day reports on the local issues of the community. BUT there should also be another section devoted entirely to day-by-day reports on issues that are, or will, affect us as American citizens and the nation itself. It should be informational, enlightening, incisive, and credible.

Just to list a few, we need to be kept informed about what our government is doing that endangers our personal freedom and privacy. We should learn more about the reasons we are at war. We should be made aware of the fact that we are spending ourselves into insolvency. We should get the facts on why this administration refuses to close our borders to illegal aliens. And finally, the newspaper should make known to us why neither the republican nor the democratic party seem capable of countering the schemes of the New World Order crowd and report on suggested ways how we might yet preserve our sovereignty, our Constitution, and our nation.

In short, we need a clarion call, which the Democrat and other newspapers could and should give us.

As I see it, newspapers, whether print or on-line, are our bastion of freedom in America, and the news they give us helps keeps that freedom alive. Anything less, is shirking the responsibility of service to readers and is not worthy of being called a NEWS paper.



Published originally at : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact.”

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