In the middle of three guys and a woman shouting back and forth about whatever comes to their minds, which are of course conveyed to us mostly by news media, this week we also heard this: Christian Science Monitor is folding. The newspaper, which is exactly 100 year old this year announced to close its print edition completely by next April, but will continue to publish online.
Shocking? Not really considering we are all expecting this. People have been talking about online publishing as the innovation “solution” for so long – the citizen journalism wave, the blogging “industry”, the open-source crowd-sourcing “freedom of publishing”. It all seems to make sense that we no longer buy a newspaper and read it on the subway when we can read the same thing on our iPhones without even polluting the planet.
But shocked? Don’t know about you, but I was. For no reason at all my first reaction was indeed, very sad. Finally. This happened. No deny that I’ve been an evangelist on technological evolution in the news industry like most people, but at that moment I found my old cynicism towards print journalism obsolete altogether. I know Christian Science Monitor would say this is good thing, a healthy piece of good news, the future of journalism, like they always bring. But it has hardly any joy in it. What’s there is three things: nobody wants to spend money on publishing, nobody wants to pay for news, which leads to — news have to be free now, voila, the Internet, the self-serving cafeteria, except that the cooks are no longer getting paid and food is no longer brought in by paid workers. Now help yourself!
You might say the blog industry is taking over, but that’s hardly the case. We have famous blogs like Gawker, which makes its fame, at least originally by making fun of newspapers in New York. What are they going to make fun of when there is no real newspaper left? Then we have political blogs such as the Huffington Post, one of whose unpaid, voluntary reporter just killed her partner then committed suicide. But if you notice when there are tons of Page Six alike blogs, there is no Page 2 and Page 3 alikes, simply because no blogs can afford to send “bloggers” anywhere to actually report. Blogs do stew fries, but without original material I wonder how are they going to make food?
In other news of this week, what’s also potentially folding: the Men’s Vogue (change to a half-a-yearly…wait what?), Conde Nast’s Portfolio, Radar Magazine, although I hardly have any sympathy over the magazine industry. Also facing huge budget cut: the New York Times, and basically everything else. Somehow I feel bad that we live in this age that our hundred-year-old grandparents are finally dying.
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