The Locker Room

March 17, 2006

The End of Print

Posted by at 11:54 AM

Today, Paul Chesser has a great article in the American Spectator about the future of print-news. Basically, Paul takes a practical approach, concluding that there are many reasons to drop the printed word in favor of the tech-savvy online approach. One of the best lines in the piece is a quote from "CBS Evening News" anchor Bob Schieffer, where he told USA Today:

If the railroads had realized that they were in the transportation business, they'd own all the airlines today. Unfortunately, they thought they were in the railroad business, and that's what we have to keep in mind here. We're in the information business.

Granted, adaptability is essential for anything to survive; and if you're talking about a business, it's especially important to not be myopic. But there's something else that businesses must keep in mind: identity and flare. Products today are focusing more and more on how to get the product to be a part of the consumer. Not only do you want a potential consumer to feel like he needs the product, but you also want him to feel like the product is a part of him; it contributes something special to him. And I think newspapers have the chance to be distinct in this field, a move that would preserve them for years to come.

If online blogging and instant-access to information have become competition for newspapers (which has contributed to their declining circulation), you can either try to compete, or redefine your competition. Newspapers need to do the latter, and by doing this, they not only ensure their future, they also remake the newspaper genre.

Two things I would recommend in making this leap:

1) Forget the up-to-the-second news coverage -- it won't work for something that requires a deadline. All you get is half-baked stories filled with anonymous sources. Instead, focus on in-depth coverage. Go the extra mile, even if it means being a bit late. This of course pushes papers to step out of the "daily" category and move to weekly, or maybe even biweekly. Wedge them somewhere between online news sources and magazines.

2) Newspaper readers love the pictures and organization of the paper. Make newspapers an art form. Keep the old-time feel.

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A joke in honor of St. Patrick's Day

Posted by Jon Ham at 11:38 AM

Think about this as you quaff your Guinness:

The mistress of a big English house called her Irish maid and pointed out the dust still on top of the piano. 'Mary' she said 'I could write my name in this dust'. Mary responded 'Isn't education a grand thing ma'm'.


(via Irish Jokes)

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Mmmmm ... topical Simpsons reference

Posted by Jon Sanders at 11:24 AM

I expect John remembers this exchange from the episode "Lisa the Vegetarian":

Homer: Wait a minute wait a minute wait a minute. Lisa honey, are you saying you're never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon?

Lisa: No.

Homer: Ham?

Lisa: No.

Homer: Pork chops?

Lisa: Dad! Those all come from the same animal!

Homer: [Chuckles] Yeah, right Lisa. A wonderful, magical animal.

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Re: No Soup for You!

Posted by Jenna Ashley Robinson at 10:41 AM

From the Solidarité Des Francais website.

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No Soup For You!

Posted by Jenna Ashley Robinson at 08:45 AM

From the Liberator Online:

The real soup Nazis: If you outlaw soup, then only outlaws will eat soup. It sounds absurd, but that's what's happening in France. In 2005, a group opposed to immigrants started offering free pork soup for the homeless at a soup kitchen. The soup was intended to send a message that Muslims aren't welcome in France, since Muslims don't eat pork. Now, according to the New York Times (February 28), the French government has shut down the soup kitchen because of the "discriminatory nature of the soup".

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Blame Those Awful Parents

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 07:13 AM

Laura Hirschfeld Hollis writes that the fundamental problem with the public school system is poor parents that pass on bad habits to their children. She says, "Don't take my word for it. Ask a teacher."

Public school teachers regularly blame the parents and media for their inability to teach some children. While there is some truth to this, mediocre teachers use parents and the media as an excuse for their own failings as a teacher. New and inexperienced teachers are also prone to do this. The more that these teachers "cry parent," the less we believe it to be a problem.

More importantly, it creates a policy problem that Hollis cannot solve. She wants poor parents to be "held accountable for their children’s problems." What kind of accountability measures would public schools have to enforce? No matter what form it would take, it would require a substantial increase in government power. She does not seem to mind this, but I would not want the government to police my parenting. One of the only freedoms that I have left is to make my child as neurotic as I am.

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