We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Most commentators bemoan the decline in readers of the dead-tree editions of major newspapers.Most explanations center on ideological bias of the local newspaper turning off readers or the availability of news on the Internet or the cutting of size of newspaper sections.
In my case, the local newspaper, the San Diego Union-Tribune, is politically centrist most of the time, so I’m not turned off or away.It has cut the size of its sections but mostly eliminated excess, so my time with the paper is better focused.And, yes, the Internet offers more depth and diversity, but one does have to specially search and scan many posts and sites to get the depth, diversity or local news, if one wants it, which takes up lots of time.
The local newspaper, by contrast, handily offers the highlights of national and international news, so I’m aware of them, and if interested can then decide whether to spend more time (than the too much time I already spend) on the Internet.
Most important, I can only find extensive coverage of California or of San Diego area news in the local newspaper.
And, I can do it all in 10-minutes of scanning the print newspaper.I’d have to spend several-fold longer clicking all the links in the U-T’s online edition and another several-fold longer scanning numerous websites.
Here’s an example of how it works, to quickly connect the dots via the print edition of the San Diego Union-Tribune:
- Page 4 of today’s newspaper has an AP report of a 6.5 earthquake offshore of Eureka, in northernmost California, that onshore broke some windows.The report is not online, because the U-T is economizing by not paying the wire services extra to put their pieces online at the newspaper’s web site. That saves funds that can be spent on enlarging local reporting.
To government watchdogs, such contracts raise concerns about the way the $787 billion stimulus program is being administered.
“It is very upsetting that the government doesn’t do more due diligence before it hands money out,” said Laura N. Chick, California’s inspector general for stimulus funds. “We’ve gotten very used to handing out taxpayer dollars and not so good at overseeing to whom are we giving them and how they are being spent.”
Imperial Beach spent $47,000 in grant money. San DiegoCounty, $30,000. San DiegoCity has received $1,500 and may seek another $150,000 to protect us from a terrible tsunami….
The federal government has been pushing tsunami awareness since 1995, when it formed the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program, out of concern one could hit along the coasts of Oregon, Washington and Northern California because of seismic activity nearby…. [Note: not the San Diego area; nor did a severe offshore earthquake near northernmost California's Eureka cause a tsunami.]
But what are the odds? The National Safety Council puts the odds of dying in an earthquake in your lifetime at one in 153,597.Dying from a lightning strike is one in 81,701. Bee stings? That’s a mere one in 62,950.
A tsunami? It’s so rare, you can’t even put odds on it.
But we won’t need to worry. Once the feds pony up more of our money, we’ll all be TsunamiReady™.
In less than 10-minutes to scan the entire, shrunken, print edition I have an investigative report with a top insider’s indictment of wasteful and reckless stimulus spending and two additional specific related examples of how.
Try being aware of that connect the dots online.
In addition, my 9-year old son eagerly reads each morning’s sports section, taking it along to school to discuss with his classmates during lunch.The print edition helps to create a young person interested in knowing more than from the 5-minutes of TV sports news, and being aware of a wider range of sports topics.Those habits will carry over into a later interest in the news.
Across the country, in Baltimore, the PEWResearchCenter studied how state and local news happens by one-week’s local and state news reporting from all sources. Some key findings:
-- Among the six major news threads studied in depth—which included stories about budgets, crime, a plan involving transit busses, and the sale of a local theater—fully 83% of stories were essentially repetitive, conveying no new information. Of the 17% that did contain new information, nearly all came from traditional media either in their legacy platforms or in new digital ones.
-- General interest newspapers like the Baltimore Sun produced half of these stories—48%—and another print medium, specialty newspapers focused on business and law, produced another 13%.
-- Local television stations and their websites accounted for about a third (28%) of the enterprise reporting on the major stories of the week; radio accounted for 7%, all from material posted on radio station websites. The remaining nine new media outlets accounted for just 4% of the enterprise reporting we encountered.
But, here’s the “bad” news: the new media hasn’t filled the hole left by declining newspaper resources; instead, government and special interest groups have a freer hand than before to push their own viewpoints with less examination by the media for completeness or truth:
-- As the press scales back on original reporting and dissemination, reproducing other people’s work becomes a bigger part of the news media system. Government, at least in this study, initiates most of the news. In the detailed examination of six major storylines, 63% of the stories were initiated by government officials, led first of all by the police. Another 14% came from the press. Interest group figures made up most of the rest.
If I could say the same thing about my local paper I might still subscribe. I do pick it up now & then and have been surprised by its more balanced coverage and editorials. I wonder if they have discovered being off balance has affected their bottom line.
still subscribe to the htfd courant but mainly for sports, xword and word jumble and because the cost is so low (about a buck a week). editorial views and the way news is presented is still very lefty (see dodd resignation coverage).
Today, Sunday, at least the top 20 national and international news stories in the U-T were penned by the kids at the AP. Locally, the U-T can indeed inform us about the "Attempted robbery thwarted at gas station" and "Fire destroys vehicles in Oceanside carport". This San Diego resident long ago terminated the morning driveway litter in favor of more balanced and germane information sources such as, indeed, Maggie's Farm. The MSM has an overabundance of diversity, what they could use is a little more variety.
"The MSM has an overabundance of diversity" as you say, Chazz. What they don't seem to have is the ability to tell the reader "who, what, where, when and why" within the first three paragraphs of a news story, which they are supposed to have learned to do in journalism school. And they also seem to have forgotten, or have never learned, to do solid background research on a feature story. So we get some real 'howlers' perpetrated by these folks who are just too busy to check facts and look things up, even though it is far easier to do so now, with the magic of the Internet, than it was forty years ago.
Nevertheless, we too still subscribe to the daily newspaper here. Like Diogenes, searching for an honest man, we still hope against hope we'll find some nuggets of information that haven't been spun and skewed to fit an agenda.