Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
Aug 28th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

A Deeper Need for the Print Newspaper

tom_honigThe story line is a direct one: newspapers are dying. Big city dailies? Dying. Small-town papers? On their way. Free dailies? Hovering over the abyss.  If indeed newspapers are critically ill, their fate has to be one of the most heavily covered stories of this or any century. Did the railroads get this kind of treatment? Did blacksmiths get to read daily about how nobody is any good with an anvil anymore? Were there daily accounts about how nobody wants ice delivered to their door anymore?

I declared my journalism career over about a year and a half ago when I quit my job as editor of the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Obviously, as these words appear here, I’m backsliding a bit, but much of the decision to leave revolved around the fear that things were only going to get worse.

Hmmm. Now I’m not so sure. Take a look at the remarkable developments in Iran over the past weeks. Certainly, the ability of Iranian protesters to communicate with the outside world is a story of online communication, of Twitter and text messages and videos on cellphones. New technology has allowed hundreds of thousands of protesters to communicate with the outside world in a manner mindful of China in 1989—but oh so much more effective.

 

…there’s still good, solid coverage in most print newspapers, particularly from the same large metro newspapers that are now so threatened. The trouble is, most of us don’t notice. Most of us don’t read stories every day from Tehran. Or Baghdad. Or Darfur.


But there’s a deeper need, at least to us who are thousands of miles away in the United States. We’re an insulated country, despite all our ability to travel and to communicate with the rest of the world. Those on the both sides of the political aisle too often gaze through our American viewfinder when considering the rest of the world. Some say: Obama should have reacted more forcefully. Or others say: this movement could have never started if Bush were still president.

This is one case where it may not matter what an American leader has to say: this is an Iranian development, and it’s a remarkable one.

I had watched television pictures—most of them marked “amateur video” on television, and I had followed some dispatches out of Iran on Twitter and on blogs. But by far the most informative information was collected in ink on paper—that venerable institution, the newspaper.

I spent a good three hours reading The New York Times over the weekend, a cup of coffee by my side. I read dispatches from correspondents—cut off from the action in some ways, but nevertheless offering insight and context not available on television. I read the opinion column—not the ones concentrating on what Obama was doing—but instead by journalists like Tom Friedman and David Ignatius, those who have spent years abroad, interviewing and learning the nuances about far-off countries that we really don’t understand well enough here back home.

From the Sunday Times of London (I saw it online) came this: there was evidence of massive voter fraud; in fact, the number of votes cast in some provinces actually exceeded the number of eligible voters.

It takes a lot for most Americans to pay attention to world affairs. That’s why important international stories are mostly missing from our television sets.  I was drawn to a rant that came my way from Ann Curry, the NBC newswoman and Today show anchor who admittedly has done her share of soft, cute features on television. But this day she was on fire. Speaking at a journalism conference about foreign news coverage, here’s what she said: “The reason I have to fight every time to do these (important) stories is because … it’s hard to get a majority of Americans or even a significant number of Americans in NBC, Fox, ABC, CBS’s world to care. I think journalism is a battle and I feel the scars and I see the blood on my sword on a daily basis for fights for foreign coverage to be more present in our broadcasting.”

Much of the same problem plagues the print media. But there’s still good, solid coverage in most print newspapers, particularly from the same large metro newspapers that are now so threatened.

The trouble is, most of us don’t notice. Most of us don’t read stories every day from Tehran. Or Baghdad. Or Darfur. Sometimes we don’t read about what’s happening in Sacramento, even though it affects us directly.

But there are reporters, still there, plugging away in relative obscurity. And when that big story hits—even halfway around the world—it’s a damn good thing they’re there.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

The Meaning of ‘LIFE’

With a new documentary film about his work, and huge exhibits on both coasts, acclaimed Santa Cruz nature photographer Frans Lanting is having a landmark year. But his crusade for conservation doesn’t leave much time for looking back

 

Seasons of Opportunity

Everything in our world has a specific time (a season) in which to accomplish a specific work—a “season” that begins (opportunity) and ends (time’s up). I can feel the season is changing. The leaves turning colors, the air cooler, sunbeams casting shadows in different places. It feels like a seasonal change has begun in the northern hemisphere. Christmas is in four months, and 2015 is swiftly speeding by. Soon it will be autumn and time for the many Festivals of Light. Each season offers new opportunities. Then the season ends and new seasons take its place. Humanity, too, is given “seasons” of opportunity. We are in one of those opportunities now, to bring something new (Uranus) into our world, especially in the United States. Times of opportunity can be seen in the astrology chart. In the U.S. chart, Uranus (change) joins Chiron (wound/healing). This symbolizes a need to heal the wounds of humanity. Uranus offers new archetypes, new ways of doing things. The Uranus/Chiron (Aries/Pisces) message is, “The people of the U.S. are suffering. New actions are needed to bring healing and well-being to humanity. So the U.S. can fulfill its spiritual task of standing within the light and leading humanity within and toward the light.” Thursday, Aquarius Moon, Mercury enters Libra. The message, “To bring forth the new order in the world, begin with acts of Goodwill.” Goodwill produces right relations with everyone and everything. The result is a world of progressive well-being and peacefulness (which is neither passive nor the opposite of war). Saturday is the full moon, the solar light of Virgo streaming into the Earth. Our waiting now begins, for the birth of new light at winter solstice. The mother (hiding the light of the soul, the holy child), identifying the feminine principle, says, “I am the mother and the child. I, God (Father), I Matter (Mother), We are One.”

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

His Dinner With David

Author + reporter = brainy talk in ‘End of the Tour’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Land of Plenty

Farm to Fork benefit dinner for UCSC’s Agroecology Center, plus a zippy salsa from Teresa’s Salsa that loves every food it meets

 

If you knew you had one week to live, what would you do?

Make peace with myself, which would allow me to be at peace with others. Diane Fisher, Santa Cruz, Network Engineer

 

Comanche Cellars

Michael Simons, owner and winemaker of Comanche Cellars, once had a trusted steed called Comanche, which was part of his paper route and his rodeo circuit, from the tender age of 10. In memory of this beautiful horse, he named his winery Comanche, and Comanche’s shoes grace the label of each handcrafted bottle.

 

Cantine Winepub

Aptos wine and tapas spot keeps it casual