Thursday, April 23, 2009

The More Things Change

I'll keep today's reflection on Paul Likoudis' article, below, brief, as this article is a bit longer than the last one. But I am struck by some thoughts about the newspaper business in general.

I'm not enough of a student of history to comment on the tensions between those Catholics who had what Mr. Likoudis calls "Americanist" leanings, and those who did not; clearly we know that assimilation has its dangers as well as its benefits, and adopting an obsequious attitude toward secularism, which we can still see today in the Notre Dame scandal, is never a good idea. But, like last week, what I find most inspiring is that The Wanderer at its beginnings was hardly a "professional" newspaper; most of its contributors and founders were not highly educated professional writers, and a great deal of homespun wisdom seems to have been a feature of the paper from the start.

One hundred and forty years later, traditional newspapers are faltering. Major papers like the New York Times are not immune; circulation keeps dropping, money keeps disappearing, and newspaper editors across the country are at a loss to explain it all.

I think that what really has happened is that newspapers got too big to succeed. Combined with the Internet's capacity to make news feeds available to all without the medium of the paper, the lack of local, small-town, focused coverage makes newspapers less and less relevant to a lot of people's lives. The small, specialty newspapers and magazines, provided they figure out how to make the best use of the Internet, will continue, because the voices they publish are, like the early Wanderer's team, the unadulterated voices of the community itself.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

ND 'scandal', methinks much ado about nuthin'.

Praise be to Heavens that this viewpoint is singularly disjointed, and reason will prevail. Nevermind that one dost think the lady doth protest too much at the expense of spirit in a waste of shame.

However, one has to realize that whomsoever trusts in the tameness of a wolf is quite mad.