May 31, 2015 Blumbers

Big 20: Newspapers

Twenty years ago in a large city you could buy several daily newspapers. Looking back it seems like a crazy way to deliver news. Cut down trees and make paper. Print news on it. Put all the paper on trucks at three in the morning and deliver it to kids. Have the kids throw the paper on your lawn. You read it and then throw it away. Crazy.

The number of American newspapers had been declining since the 1920s, but the internet really sped things up. competed with newspapers and gave local want ads global reach. Unfortunately, without editorial oversight, some of these ads were placed by criminals to lure innocent people into danger. I remember one company bragging how it got their employees from Craigslist, despite the bad publicity associated with it.

The good news is that the internet allowed more independent journalism by citizens. When a police officer recently shot a suspect in the back and planted a weapon on the body, the whole thing was on all over the internet in hours. In the old days a reporter might not have been around. If they were around, their editor might have been pressure by police not to show it.

Newpapers might be dead but journalism is not.

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