In defence of newspapers

“A lot of journalists and former journalists and bloggers seem to hate their newspapers because of some vague psychic or moral sensibility, as if some great social contract has been breached. The newspaper was supposed to represent some Rockwellian expression of American idealism and democratic life along with a devotion to craft.  Instead, it became a place where the sounds of cash registers were louder than the roar of the presses; where any spark of creativity was watered with a fire hose; where literary rebels were chained by the next corporate formula to come down the pike,” writes Roy Peter Clark on Poynter Online, in an eloquent summary of the common complaints.

Clark has been on a campaign lately to get people to read “newspapers.” I agree with Clark about reading news. Largely, I agree with his critique of the critics of mainstream media. But I think his notion that quality news has to be printed on dead trees is, at best, antiquated. I think “newspapers” read online are even better than the link-less, search-less, video-less, voice-less, ink-smudge-less, boringly two-tone “newspaper” that still thuds loudly onto my porch at 3 a.m. each day, after we’ve been awakened by the radio and door alarm blaring from the newspaper delivery guy’s car, left idling on the street to spew exhaust and noise into the night air.