March 18, 2009 3 Comments
I can still remember the story on the front page of the only copy of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that I ever bought – it was a report on the assassination of Rajiv Ghandi, which means I must have purchased the paper on the 22nd of May 1991, when I was travelling up the Pacific coast on my way to the Cascade Mountains.
If if I ever make it back to Seattle (which I hope I do one day, because it is probably the nicest city I have ever visited) I won’t be able to buy the paper again, because, as of today, the S P-I has become an online-only operation, after 146 years in business.
The print newspaper model – where investigative reporting was subsidised by advertising sales – has collapsed, as ad revenue has migrated to the web. What will fill the news-gathering vacuum left behind? The idea that an army of bloggers will ever replace the likes of Woodward and Bernstein is patently ridiculous.
Information may seem to be more freely available then ever, thanks to the ubiquity of the internet (in the developed world at least), but the real knowledge, the stuff the Man doesn’t want us to know, will be buried even deeper in the mass of celebrity trivia and idle speculation that passes for news in the blogosphere. We are doomed to a new age of ignorance. Only musicians can save us now.