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We hates it! We hates it forever!

February 27, 2020

To channel my inner Foghorn Leghorn, “Change, that is.”

Today, I read an interesting re-post on Sarah Hoyt’s blog. I also read something on OldNFO’s blog. Those got me thinking.

I was largely raised in and around newspapers and print shops (when not on the farm or doing the commercial fishing gig), way back in the days of lead type. By the time I was out of that environment, photo-offset was the norm. For large-scale printing, it still is. However, third-party typesetting, leading to what was called “camera-ready copy” was well on its way to becoming the norm for a lot of the printing industry (though not for newspapers). And then, one day, the thing happened.

The “thing” was, of course, the explosion of the internet into everyday life. In my experience, almost no one, including most of my fellow nerds, geeks and dorks, really foresaw how things would change. That was certainly true of the people I new in the newspaper industry. Newspapers had successfully weathered the onslaught of televised news. Newspaper publishers and editors argued, largely accurately, that while televised news was great for breaking stories, if one wanted truly in-depth reporting and analysis, especially on a regular basis, that was the realm of which newspapers were the undisputed rulers. Then, we had another “thing.” Enter Matt Drudge, stage right.

I hate the hyperbolic clickbait which proclaims “this changes EVERYTHING,” but I don’t think it’s easy to overstate the impact of the Drudge Report. It was, I submit, largely responsible for amateur or citizen journalism becoming a real thing. It has affected not only newspapers, which are an increasingly lesser factor in news, but also broadcast journalism. I don’t think we have seen, yet, what the final result will be. What we have seen, though, is the newspaper industry beginning its slow exit, stage left. While I suspect they will survive, I don’t think they’ll do so in their current form. With the possible exception of a few large dailies, I suspect print newspapers will focus on local markets, including both rural communities as well as neighborhood papers for larger cities. I have no evidence, mind you. It’s just what I’m thinking.

Change. I don’t really hate it. Nor do most other people. What we hate is the lack of predictability and the discomfort that lack brings. Meh. Life is change.

By the way, while I already miss what newspapers once were, if you have the frame of reference to understand OldNFO’s post, then you’ll likely understand why I celebrated the demise of Autovon. I can’t tell you how much I hated Autovon. Talk about a change for the better…

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One Comment
  1. OldNFO permalink

    Thank you sir, and yes, the internet changed EVERYTHING!

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