Flash: I Like Newspapers

Posted on March 28, 2011. Filed under: Media Commentary, Public Relations | Tags: , , , , |

Theodore Dreiser

Theodore Dreiser, image via Wikipedia

Fired up over healthy Twitter conversation about the newspaper business today. Speculated that if someone showed up at the daily newspaper’s offices with the biggest story since Watergate, they’d just think you were a lunatic and call the cops.

My point is that newspapers need to be more accessible to people, quit acting like big shot corporations that put up walls between themselves and their customers.

I acknowledged that I was a hopeless newspaper romantic and insinuated that somewhere Theodore Dreiser is weeping over the state of newspapers today.

I perhaps would have been a happier person living in the early years of the 20th century…when newspapers were in their heyday and people relied on them for all news. Then again, I’d be pushing up daisies by now, so maybe not.

There was something about those Dreiser-era newspapers, nevertheless.

Sure the newspapers of yore had their drawbacks.

Women reporters were mostly confined to the society pages, for one – that’s one tradition that died out and we’re better off for it. Reporters were ill-paid and hard-used, but they had access, something that your average lumberjack in northern Minnesota or urban streetcar operator could only dream about. Mostly they seemed to do a good job of dramatizing the everyday world that people lived in back then. People paid attention. Newspapers gave important writers like Dreiser, Stephen Crane (okay, 19th century) and Ernest Hemingway a way to make a living while getting their fictional careers established.

All in all, I’d still like to see newspapers survive.

Maybe Radiohead can save newspapers: Radiohead to publish newspaper.

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