I did something this morning that I haven't done in a long time: purchased & read the Sunday Enquirer.
Not only has it been raised a quarter (to $1.75), but it's 3/4 of it's original size (dimensionally), seemingly holding half of the content that it once had (stories & ads alike), and missing a lot of the familiar names (staff cut, as reported recently) - a shell of it's former glory (if you ever wanted to call it that); resolute in it's hollow destiny it seems, as seen with its sister, The Post, and nationally.
Blame what you will on it's demise - the coverage, content, writing, management, etc. - but peer-to-peer information sharing is full upon us, which is seemingly just as powerful and believable and true "journalistic" reporting. Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and the web in general, support this new mobile lifestyle and moment-by-moment reporting of everything and anything happening in each of our lives, and the result: Everyone is an exhibitionist, and anything can become popular culture in the blink of an eye... except newspapers.How can one wait for day-late inked stories on cellulose to arrive doorstep and still be relevant? Moreover, how can the makers of these assets expect one to pay for it?
The freedom that the internet provides is individual selectivity - control over our own interests, what we want to see and when we want to see it - not to be confined by the platter or time slot served to us by big media.
That being said, the drive to gain readership online has driven a raging popularity contest. This, to me, is a concern: The traditional news sources of yesterday are feeding into pop-culture mentality more than expounding upon intellectual pursuits. Not a big deal for those who wish to research on their own, but a problem for those who take front page reporting of the big networks seriously anymore - because it seems that objectivity is dead.
So, not only have I stopped buying the paper, but I've stopped reading it online as well. And the other big names aren't any better - for instance, have you gone to CNN.com lately? I sometimes confuse it with The Onion - it's amazing what they'll put on the headline, front page, "live developing story", and latest news, not to mention the sub headings. I may just be jaded right now, because it's not all bad, but overall it's just not good.
Maybe these trivialities of everyday existence have always been expounded upon, and I just haven't paid attention. Or maybe this is the down side of the internet - free, anytime information means no-holds-barred on content, editing, recycling, and updating. I suppose when printed media was all we had, the presentation had to be more selective, more informational, more resolute, because of it's slow, static, finite nature.
Anyway, I predict that printed media still viable will go the route of "papers" like Citybeat or Cin Weekly - driven solely by adverts and/or donations, and free to the public. And yet, this too will one day be antiquated (if it already isn't). Maybe Google had it right from the get go - all free, all the time, with ads dominating the particular item's viability... and only digital.
OK, that was a bit of a tangent.
The original reason for writing today was to share this article from today's Enquirer about WKRC (Channel 12) opening up their broadcast archives to the public. If you're interested in the history of the city, this is a great way to catch up on it. One of my personal favorites there is what the Enquirer showcased: Weatherman Ira Joe presenting his backward-writing skills in the 80s (Note: Partial fondness here derived from his residence down the street from mine when I was a kid).
• Visit the WKRC-TV Video Vault.
• Additionally, the other local stations have released a bit of their past.
Some notables are:
- Channel 9's history and Uncle Al collection.
- Channel 5's history, Ruth Lyons collection and Paul Dixon Show.
- CET's Broadcast Pioneers and CUT's "Died Young" documentary.
• Update (5/29/9): This article discusses the issue of new media further, and references Cincinnati in the process.
• Update (10/10/9): Check out this progressive stance on the future of news, from 1981...