Sunday, March 1, 2009

Time Changes Everything, Especially In The Print Media

Back in 1940 Tommy Duncan wrote a song enititled "Time Changes Everything" that he recorded as the lead singer with Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys. Although the song is about getting over a lost love, the theme of the song can definitely be applied to the ongoing changes in the world of print media.

Those folks who still enjoy reading a paper version, or shall I say hard copy, of the morning paper are watching those papers shrink in size and news coverage lessen as the combination of the digital age and the bad economy wreak havoc on the newspaper industry. And, the change isn't limited to the newspaper industry. National magazine stalwarts such as Newsweek have been forced to make cuts in staff and coverage, as have many broadcast outlets, including WJLA (channel 7) here in Washington.

It seems the only group gaining an edge in this new age of media are us bloggers and the folks who enjoy reading our blog entries that are often based more on opinion than fact. Of course, most bloggers aren't being paid to post their ramblings on the internet. We're just in the mix to either make our opinions known, pad our egos, or maybe inform a few people on topics we feel are important...or some combination of the three. (Personally, I have to say my ego got a big boost recently when a reader annonymously call me a "big p*ssy fair weather(sic) fan" in a comment posted on my entry regarding the Redskins signing Albert Haynesworth. It's good to know I can occasionally touch a nerve.)

You hear more and more nowadays about how news areas once covered by the print media giants are falling by the wayside and into the world of bloggers. Washington Post columnist Marc Fisher examines the effect of this in this recent column on the shrinking news coverage of the Virginia and Maryland state governments.

Changes in the coverage of sports have also been afoot. Between ESPN's self promoting coverage of any sports item its producers find newsworthy and the up to the second sports information available on the internet, true sports journalism is no longer viewed as important by the sports fan. Sometimes I wonder what old time sports columnists like the late Shirley Povich would think about today's world of sports media. In this world of here and now, you wonder where an old time sports writer or columnist would find the time to hone his craft.

Although I have been somewhat critical of Chico Harlan's day to day coverage of the Washington Nationals in The Washington Post, I did find this Nationals Journal post by Harlan detailing the cuts in baseball coverage by The Washington Post to be very interesting and yet another example of the changes in the world of sports media.

Maybe I'm the last of a breed, but the very real possibility of such print media icons as The Washington Post, Newseek and Sports Illustrated disappearing in the coming years scares me. I'd really hate for future generations of Americans to know only of newspapers and magazines because they read them about on the internet.

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