- cause In the wake of the Newtown, CT shooting earlier this month, a Gannett-owned New York state newspaper published a series of interactive maps showing all of the gun permits in the region, according to public records.
- reaction Rage. Lots and lots of rage. Gun owners and many others are extremely angry about the exposure and have retaliated against the newspaper, with one blogger publishing the editor’s address and phone number. source
Newspapers are essential to a functioning society. They inform; they provide context; they shine a spotlight on the shortcomings of bureaucracy, the overreaches of government (yes, this does happen — just perhaps not in the insidious manner that conservatives seem to think, or imply), socioeconomic imbalances and inequities, the haves and the have-nots. Newspapers are critically important, even if many (not most) of them dedicate pages to gossip, and horoscopes, and the trivial pursuits of celebrity. Newspapers provide a continuous, continual foundation for learning; a first draft of history, as the saying goes.
And that’s why it’s absolutely essential to hear from them who they think should be President. These are endorsements not made in a vacuum, nor are they necessarily made based on personal politics (although it may be hard to argue that for a newspaper owned by an avowed right-winger like Rupert Murdoch — I’m talking to you, New York Post and Wall Street Journal). The men and women that make up editorial boards see things objectively and subjectively, and since they are not journalists per se, that’s permitted. It’s that point-of-view that allows, say, the Los Angeles Times editorial board to write, about Mitt Romney, that
it’s irresponsible to seek a deep, permanent tax cut when the government is deeply in the red. And Romney would exacerbate the situation by spending extravagantly on defense even as the last of the Bush-era wars ends.
That’s something their political reporters — as objective journalists — simply cannot do, and should never do. These editorial boards have a bird’s-eye worldview, detached yet attached, and that’s what allows them to make their endorsements, giving their readers something to think about before they head to the ballot box.
Newspapers, by and large, are how the educated electorate become educated. And there is nothing more important to the survival of a democracy than masses, enlightened.
For the good of the republic, read on. And take in an opinion or two.
The Times-Picayune, a 175-year-old fixture in New Orleans and a symbol of the city’s gritty resilience during Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, has buckled under the pressures of the modern newspaper market.
Advance Publications, owned by the Newhouse family, said Thursday it would scale back the printed edition to three days a week and impose staff cuts as a way to reduce costs as well as shift its emphasis to expanded online coverage.
The decision will leave New Orleans as the most prominent American city without a newspaper that is printed every day. But it also reflects the declining lure of the paper as a printed product. In 2005, before Katrina struck, the paper had a daily circulation of 261,000; in March of this year, the circulation was 132,000.
The developments were the latest instance of reorganization in a rapidly changing industry, which continues to struggle with declining advertising revenue and the changing preferences of readers for online news outlets. Data tracked by the Audit Bureau of Circulations showed that papers with a circulation of 25,000 or more had a 21 percent drop in circulation between 2007 and 2012.
In response, papers have slashed costs, trimmed the number of employees, reduced coverage, and some have experimented with cutting the number of days they print. The Ann Arbor News in Michigan, another Newhouse newspaper, cut back the printed paper to Thursdays and Sundays in 2009, and hired a fraction of its former staff to run the Web site AnnArbor.com. In 2010, The Detroit News began delivering its paper to subscribers on Thursdays and Fridays only, although it prints papers every day.
Executives at Advance said the paper and its Web site, NOLA.com, would be reconstituted into a new company, the NOLA Media Group, as a way of adapting to the new ways news was being delivered and consumed in an increasingly digital age. An internal memo to the staff said there would be newsroom reductions, but did not specify how many."