Comments: The power of the press is a figment of the imagination -- humbug --

In the 1980s I worked for the Billings Gazette. Owned by Lee Enterprises, Inc. (Davenport, Iowa). Editors almost entirely from Madison WI. Election night 1984 was a hilarious memory a la "I don't know ANYONE who voted for Reagan!" The disconnect was strong even then.

Posted by Jewel at June 4, 2017 12:36 AM

"Craigslist killed newspapers"

Then it moved on, to the depths of despair like just about everything else.

Now, CL is mostly scammers and spammers and if you reply to any ads I'll suggest you never give them your phone number and only use a *trash mail* account.

Posted by ghostsniper at June 4, 2017 4:33 AM

Two things killed newspapers: Birds and fish. People no longer keep pet birds, so we don't need newspapers to line bird cages. Fish are now shrink-wrapped, boxed and frozen, so fish mongers don't need newspapers to wrap fish. Ergo, the only things newspapers were ever good for are no more.

Posted by billH at June 4, 2017 6:53 AM

As an art teacher, I use newspaper all the time. I stopped getting the paper about 15 years ago, because it was old news by the time it came out. Too much agenda, not enough news. Now, I just ask a friend for hers, if I have need of it.

Posted by Leslie at June 14, 2017 9:37 AM

On second thought, it was not birds and fish, nor suicide; it was lethal parasitism. All those Woodward-Bernstein clones coming out of journalism schools in the Watergate years climbed the managerial ladder and slowly poisoned their hosts. I know, my oldest daughter is one. Majored in journalism to change the world she said. Forty years later she's still trying. She doesn't have much to show for it, and most of her past employers are long gone.

Posted by billH at June 14, 2017 10:06 AM

BillH nailed it. Once there were no journalists, only reporters. They came to the job from other jobs. They had some broader background. Even Woodward and Bernstein started that way.

J-school idiots had to save the world. They destroyed their own.

Posted by Gordon at June 14, 2017 3:47 PM

All of them are your basic messengers, like the mercurial runners from ancient Greece.

To them, now, the "title" journalist sounds so much more lofty and important than "reporter", so journalist it is.

Once more, style trumps substance and quality dives into the dumpster.

Posted by ghostsniper at June 15, 2017 4:07 AM

We live in the country in a county that went 70% for Trump. My wife has a part time job delivering newspapers on a rural car route for a Hearst newspaper. She started 5 years ago when I retired, she had about 350 customers. You know the paper it's about 15 or 20 pages in 2 sections all the local news up front, cont'd on pg.2 & 3. The Obits on pg. 3, local sports in section B. But in the very center of section A where it opens up into 2 full pages is the opinion section. Of course we're treated to all the worst screeds from the NYT's the Washington Post and the like. Over the last 18-20 mos. her customer count has dropped to around 140, cancellations are historic to the point where her route is no longer profitable. She has just purchased a neat little ice cream shop in a neighboring community, her and a daughter are going into business. I don't know what the newspaper plans on doing.

Posted by tonynoboloney at June 15, 2017 11:35 PM

18 years ago the Minneapolis Star-Tribune sold for a billion dollars. Owning it was like having a CD that paid 15 percent, year after year. But by 2008 it was bankrupt.

18 years ago people in outstate towns would line up on Saturday night at the place where the Strib would be dropped off for local delivery. They wanted first crack at the help wanted ads. There would be 80 pages of just help wanted ads. That all vanished.

Posted by Gordon at June 17, 2017 4:25 AM

tony - Gannet will buy it, fire 95% of the local news staff, and fill it 95% with piped-in USA Today crap. That's what happened to our local paper about 15 years ago. Circulation is in the pits, but it must at least break even in this form or Gannet surely would have shuttered it by now.

Posted by billH at June 18, 2017 7:02 AM

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