The list of disappearing newspapers is becoming encyclopedic.
Halifax Daily News
San Fransisco Chronicle
Rocky Mountain News
Christian Science Monitor
The L.A. Times and the Chicago Sun Times have filed for bankruptcy.
Lay-offs in all media, but especially daily print, are daily, commonplace and heartbreaking.
What does this mean for you and me?
Much. A great deal.
It means that there are far fewer reporters and real journalists who can dig deep in those stories that need public exposure.
I am not a reporter. Never have been.
I'm a columnist, an observer, a talk show host. I see the passing parade and hiss or applaud. My role is to express my reaction to the world and get you and me engaged in a dialogue about the issues.
I do not hang about City Hall, poking in all the dusty corners.
Unfortunately, fewer and fewer people who do exactly that and who enjoy doing that and who are darned good at that can find work.
This means that you and I are increasingly less informed. The "official story" becomes increasingly unchallenged.
Which means that you and I are swallowing more and more horse swill as the days pass.
The Globe & Mail has written a marvelous several-page piece that asks the question:
Is democracy written in disappearing ink?The other night I was standing in the many wrap-around windows of an apartment in downtown Vancouver. I found myself focusing on the beautiful old Sun Tower building on West Pender, and, behind it, the current Vancouver Sun building at the foot of Granville Street.
I had the same reaction that I had last year when I was in the advertising offices of the Sun, on the umpteentieth floor in the sky.
"Don't they know this is going the way of the dodo bird? Shouldn't they all be looking for other work?"
The Globe article studies in detail the inroads of the Internet and the erosion of the city newspaper financial model. But it also pints out starkly the unique role of the city daily print edition -
informing the public, animating civic culture and holding government accountable?
Blog Land is full of trenchant opinions (and pure, unadulterated idiocy), but opinions have to begin with facts and information.
So far, very few on-line papers or zines have been able to match the city daily.
Almost none have become crucial partners in the city's culture, sponsoring health and arts and sports and cultural events.
I have no idea what the coming years will bring us.
But let's be honest.
98% of the blogosphere is as productive and interesting as all those millions of teenage girls on their cells saying over and over again, "So, I'm like...and my mom's like...and I'm like..."