No Newspaper Escape Plan

Posted in news, newspapers by Deputy city editor on August 5, 2009
Young Woman in Bed Reading a Newspaper (circa 1890s), Louise Lyons Heustis (American, 1865-1951).

"Young Woman in Bed Reading a Newspaper" (circa 1890's), Louise Lyons Heustis (American, 1865-1951).

I was a newspaperman. I remember linotype machines. Boilermakers for breakfast. Even the days when you could get stories without talking to a flack.

My emotions are hence conflicted as I watch the collapse of my medium.

Even without undue sentimentalism – newspapers have always as often as not been rotten, and still are – it is true that newspapers did have a golden age inasmuch as once upon a time they made money.

That business model is broken with newspapers closing almost every day and great titles struggling.

There is a group on Facebook called Newspaper Escape Plan (from which I have borrowed the title of this article) but it has yet to produce a coherent Escape Plan, although it does offer a chronicle inedité of the grim bloodbaths in American newsrooms.

Why prolong the agony? The sooner the newspapers go bust the better. The Ann Arbor News has closed?  It has been terrible since forever. Good. Maybe the absence of crappy newspapers like the Ann Arbor News will create space for something better.

As for the publishers: I think that almost all of them are dinosaurs. They are run by charlatans and idiots (meaning those of mental incapacity) and most of them have done nothing interesting or useful for years.

The people who own them (eg Rupert Murdoch, my old governor) inhabit a rich world of psychosis completely disconnected from their readers.

As he attempts to cheat death steaming around the world on his Boeing Business Jet, Mr Murdoch apparently believes he can charge people to read The Times online! Ha! Not when the BBC is giving away commodity news for which, in a perverse paradox, you can be sent to jail if you don’t pay!


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