Sunday, March 01, 2009

I Repurpose a Comment Left at 'Reflections of a Newsosaur'

Lifeboat (film)Image via Wikipedia

[Reflections of a Newsosaur] New comment on SF Chron plan: Web fees, job cuts, givebacks.


....J.Michael Robertson has left a new comment on the post "SF Chron plan: Web fees, job cuts, givebacks":

Here's an unpleasant thought. If you assume that what is precious and must be preserved is the paper's content -- and thus its content makers -- the Guild members who take this sacred trust seriously now have a responsibility to throw all the other newspaper unions under the bus. Perhaps, back in the day union solidarity maintained wages and benefits for all -- though during my time at the Chronicle the Teamsters were really the only union that mattered and when they cut their own separate deals we all fell in line. But today under the theory that any and all must be sacrificed to the preservation of editors and reporters .... You remember the movie Lifeboat. Put the weak over the side and let them drift away.

Has it come to this? It really is a question of where the greater loyalty lies, and how serious you think the loss to the community will be if the Chron dies or shrinks back into only an online presence.
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Tommy Morahan said...

Wow! That's putting it out there. What I love about you is you say it as it is.
Can we survive without the newspaper(s)? Could we manage with just FOX, MSNBC and CNN etc?
How many of the population really read a newspaper anyway?
And is it really about the content? Is the content of the Chron. and other "dinosaurs" that makes it all it can be?
In the end the simple question is "are we better or worse off with/out newspapers?"
I say we would be worse off. We have to keep them but are we going to bail them out like the financials or do we let them drift? If they drift then perhaps in the future we will have a new day of resurgence of productive, engaging, and "lacking in self-interest" publications.
Oh but then we ............

....J.Michael Robertson said...

Beats me. I'll say it again. Beats me. I don't know what will emerge when the local news is a series of streams -- a delta -- rather than a mighty river. As I like to say, perhaps the virtue of a newspaper is that it *literally* has a community, or at least its opinion makers and its active citizens, on the same page. It sets an agenda and guides the conversation. Perhaps, once the print papers are gone, online entities will coalesce, and what the papers produce that is actually valuable will still be produced.

Personally, the loss of a print paper is cataclysmic, but how much of that is simply habit, added to the fact a good deal of my identity is still tied up in the fact I was a journalist -- but only for 16 years. You want to point to someone young and strong doing a particular thing and say, "Squint just a little and that's me!"