Newspapers are fighting back

In a full page ad in the New York Times, a consortum of newspapers announced that they are fighting back against what they termed is the premature obituary for the newspaper industry.

Does this bring to mind Mark Twain’s famous retort when it was widely reported that the literary icon had died: “News of my death has been greatly exaggerated”?

Or perhaps “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore,” uttered in desparation by the fictional Howard Beal, the only know fatality for ratings, as depicted in Network, the powerhouse movie about the news business.

So what is the future? For the time being, dead trees will rule, albeit in a new and as yet developing role. (Now, as an aside — before you hurry off to hug a tree, thinking this little act wil save the world, let me remind you that in many places — Georgia somes to mind and Alabama, too — pulp wood trees are grown like row crops. Granted these forests have  are not annual crops, but planted and harvest over a multi-year span, these agricultural operations are good for the environment and the economy).

After that, who knows? Portable “pages” of interactive mylar, a plastic film that sends and receives data, have been under development for a number of years. Last year, Esquire Magazine produced a costly prototype to showcase this future technology.

The Newspaper Project was launched to add an aggressive voice in counterpoint to the chorus of naysayers who say the printed page is dead

Since I’m on a movie roll, how about the Monty Python tune “I’m not dead yet” that delighted Spamalot audiences. Over the history of journalism the death of newspaper was forecast in response to the advent of radio then television now the internet.

The first song played on MTV was “Video Killed the Radio Star.” And that might have happened too had MTV stuck to playing music instead of becoming an amalgam of reality shows, specials, spring break, and celebrity news, mixed with lots and lots of fluff.

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