Flash! Newspapers in Trouble

Morning Miracle: Inside The Washington Post: A Great Newspaper Fights for Its Life by Dave Kindred
The Washington Post is the newspaper that brought us the Watergate story, which is one of my most favoritest tales of all time. So I have a serious soft spot for the Post.
So the second subtitle of this book made me not want to read it. I really don’t want to think about the Post going up in flames. It’s truly disturbing.
But, knowing that the book’s due date would arrive before I knew it, I cracked it, and I got all sucked in.
Here’s the first reason why: The author begins the book with a cast of characters that provides about a half-page blurb about each journalist/editor/owner. (The list starts with Ben Bradlee, so I was a goner.) The anecdotes are sheer perfection.
But then we got into the “newspapers are dying” stuff, and it got rather more serious.
It’s no news that newspapers are screwed because of the interwebs. So they’re trying to figure out where they fit, and meanwhile, many of the thoughtful pieces of news analysis that took, say, five days to write, now are going the way of the dodo bird. So we just might be left with crappy writing, shallow analysis, and a crumbling fourth estate.
This is not good news.
This book, however, is rather a delight to read. The author is a journalist, so he can write. And the stories—and the stories behind the stories—provide insight into what’s going on in the administrative offices and in the newsrooms of the Post. Much of it ain’t pretty. And the consensus seems to be: The Washington Post of the past ain’t coming back.
I’m entering my mourning period by checking out The Fiddler in the Subway by Gene Weingarten and Herblock: A Cartoonist’s Life by Herbert Block.

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