As a former newspaper employee (and as someone who has often tried to get back in the business, to no avail) I have seriously mixed feelings about what has come to be called the "death" of newspapers. On one hand, I view it much like I view the supposed death of the big auto makers: some newspapers got fat, lazy and pretentious and failed to meet the needs of their consumers and advertisers. Some newspaper owners became wealthy and complacent, and some reporters shamed the industry with the use of fabrication, plagiarism and heresay. There are times when I view the whole lot of it and wonder if perhaps it is time for newspapers to die, only to be reborn in some other form.
But there is a seriously sentimental part of me that wants to see the news live on in all its smudgy, stiffly-formatted glory. A part of me that remembers what it's like to literally get a copy "hot" off the presses. A part of me that got a little wistful upon seeing the rotating globe above the Seattle P-I building last week. And the part of me that has moved her ponderous collection of Times-Calls and Onions (I call it a portfolio) from apartment to apartment for the past five years. I have a similar emotional tie to the automakers- as a third generation auto dealer whose father was born in Pontiac, Mich., cars are as much a part of my blood as the press.
So in the end I guess news like this makes me hope against hope that this scare is just what the industry needs. A shot in the arm to realize that the game is not the same, that it's a change-or-die world these days and the power that both the car makers and the news makers had is no longer relevant in these times.
For all the people I still love in both industries, I hope that this will be the case.