What newspapers used to be

Updating an old link before sending it to a friend, I discovered that this clip from the movie “Deadline U.S.A.” is still on YouTube, about 10 years after I last showed it in a journalism class.
Editor Bogart, at the “wake” for a newspaper being sold out from under him and his staff, makes a list of the things people “want” from a 1950s newspaper — comics, puzzles, recipes, horoscopes, etc. That actually had been true for almost fifty years, from the Hearst vs. Pulitzer “yellow journalism” circulation war.
What happened 25 or so years ago was that communication went digital and personal — readers who wanted comics or puzzles could find them online without the distractions of a newspaper, shoppers could go directly to merchants, voters could get their propaganda directly from politicians, and nobody had to buy a newspaper to get those things — until they maybe noticed there were other things they were missing: A critical, research-based view of what the government was doing, or the big corporation with pipes going into the river or chimneys into the air, or issues that came up at the school board last week.
I’ve become a subscriber at Cardinal News, a nonprofit news website run by newspaper veterans from southwestern Virginia. They’ve taken contributions from a couple of powerful corporations, but talk a good fight about maintaining their independence, run no ads, and publish a list of contributors.
I miss the comics and the crosswords of a printed paper, but at least I’m getting some news.

mild-mannered reporter who found computers & the Web in grad school in the 1980s (Wesleyan) and '90s (UNC); taught journalism, media studies, Web production; retired to write, make music, photograph sunsets & walks in the woods.

Posted in 2021, Appalachia, community, Journalism, News

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