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The [Wednesday] Papers

Following up on yesterday's column about Lewis Lazare, young people and the state of the newspaper industry:

* "Lewis Lazare, who reviews ads, passes on vicious industry gossip, and wears a bowtie for a living, thinks the Web is making America stupid. He's afraid that this will cripple the industry's ability to sell shit to people," Whet Moser writes in an excellent examination at Chicagoland. "No, seriously."

* "I'm pretty sure that this Lazare also thought Elvis and the Beatles were the devil's music," my brother wrote to me in an e-mail. "I'm about to be 47 years old and we canceled our newspaper subscription. Why? Not because of the internet . . . because the paper sucked. So, I guess middle-aged men are also stupider than they used to be."

* "Boy oh boy, [Lewis] Lazare has a bad case of the Andy Rooneys today," Margaret Lyons wrote at Chicagoist.

* The editor of the Spokesman-Review in Spokane said my column "prompted a discussion this morning . . . should the [Spokesman-Review] do a hot fans contest?"

Time Warp
Tribune columnist Dawn Turner Trice took to the airwaves last night on Chicago Tonight to address the future of newspapers. See, she said, unless you've been living under a rock, newspapers are changing! They have to! But how?!

Um, it's 2008. Just catching up?

The very idea that the facts of a new media world - and the underappreciated facts of the newspaper industry's gross negligence and essential journalistic malpractice of the last three decades - are still dawning on our nation's newsrooms is just incredible. The time to ask how and why is long past.

You can't take a singles-hitting team and ask them to hit home runs. You have to change the personnel. Fire 'em all and start from scratch. I see no signs of intelligent life on these distant planets.


Trice, like so many Old World journalists, describes a newspaper that doesn't exist when she posits what we will supposedly lose to Internet dominance. As if the Tribune and Sun-Times every day are filled with journalism essential to democracy and civic goodness. Oh, were it so!

Mostly, though, a newspaper these days is filled with (stale) sports news, crappy formulaic features, columnists re-typing press releases, the world's worst comic strips, horoscopes, painfully awful advice columns, reporting of official statements filled with lies, the enabling of manipulative political strategists, and the occasional burst of insight or journalism that is actually meaningful. Just keep the last part! That will cut your newsprint costs! A four-pager every day!


Can you imagine the civil rights movement without newspapers? Trice asked. If the Internet was around, certainly! Can you imagine! YouTube video of Bull Connor and Internet fundraising for SNCC and MLK blogging directly to the people. Progress would have come much sooner.

Life Look
Later, Chicago Tonight discovered Second Life, which launched in 2003 and "came to international attention via mainstream news media in late 2006 and early 2007."

And to Chicago a year after that.

Duncan Donuts
Arne Duncan tries to explain why giving cars to 12-year-olds with good attendance records is a swell idea.

Thanks, Richie!
Duncan notes that 85 percent of Chicago Public Schools students are live under the poverty line. 85 percent. It's a good thing Daley didn't let Chicago turn into another Detroit.

The Flintstone Times
"News organizations are very dinosaur-like in the way they are trying to reach [the younger] audience. I think we tend to be dumbing down the news," Southtown Star columnist Kristen McQueary told students at Illinois State University earlier this year, "thinking that will bring in new readers instead of putting good quality news out there that appeals to your generation."

Master Your Domain
How Seinfeld can help Obama.

Barry Angel
"If America's liberal newspaper editorial boards were high school girls, they'd be listening to sad songs on the car radio just about now, driving mournfully in the rain, because Sen. Barack Obama has found somebody new," John Kass writes this morning.

"Can't you hear them sing this oldie?

"Barry Angel/How I love him/How I tingle when he passes by/Every time he says hello, my heart begins to fly. Barry Angel/How I want him/He's got something that I can't resist/But he doesn't even know that I exist."

The public financing thing is getting a lot more (critical) play around the nation - and the blogosphere - than back here at home. Natch.

Race, Gender, Class
* I hear Don Imus is in the running for Mike North's old job.

* Now, two chicks kissing is a different story.

* That's easy for Nancy Pelosi to say, she's the Speaker of the House. Way to stand up for everyone else.

If Only

I miss it too. But it's long-gone. And newspaper people helped kill it. They did it to themselves.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Stop the presses.


Posted on June 25, 2008

MUSIC - A Plan To Pay Musicians.
TV - Jonathan Pie: Back To School.
POLITICS - 5 Things An Angry Old White Man Wants To Say.
SPORTS - Triple Crown Tomato.

BOOKS - How The Post Office United America.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Premature Ejaculation Market Exploding Quickly.

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