Monday, March 15, 2010

The demise of newspapers

Maybe I got out of the newspaper industry at just the right time. Local papers used to be the pillars of the community when they provided important information and uncovered stories that would otherwise have been swept under the rug. Now, they're nothing more than online sideshows in the age of blogs and Twitter.

Case in point: The Post-Gazette is promoting a live webcam video of Xante, a Golden Retriever puppy spending his weekdays in the newsroom. I wasted about 15 seconds watching Xante wag his tail this afternoon before moving on to more interesting things like washing my clothes. Is this P-G Puppy Cam really what Pittsburgh's top newspaper should be focusing its attention on?

Things seemed to devolve even more when the Observer-Reporter launched a contest today asking people to guess the mystery location where several Peeps marshmallows were staged for a photo. This seems to undermine the O-R's journalistic credibility by publishing something so trivial next to hard news. And with only two full-time photographers left on the payroll, why are they wasting anyone's time shooting a photo of marshmallows dressed up in baseball uniforms?

What really concerns me, though, is whether people find this more interesting than feature stories about people doing good and/or hard-hitting news articles that expose sleazy politicians. If so, then that makes me glad I'm a former newsman.


  1. That peeps thing is the dumbest thing ever. I doubt, though, that it took the place of something else... but if it never existed to begin with, nobody's life would have been incomplete :-) Literally ANYTHING in place of that would be an upgrade. A 4 part story on the ivy that used to be on the West Gallery wall would have been Pulitzer compared to that.

    Oh, and I ate a bunch of peeps when I was a kid and puked yellow foam, so I'm biased.

  2. I have to point out this coincidence... A couple of days ago, this picture ( started going around online... I commented on it on two different websites saying "Now THAT is the trouble with tribbles..."

    And the peep pic you posted is recreating that episode of star trek...

    Anyway, I wasn't a big fan of star trek... there are only two episodes that I distinctly remember watching: The Trouble with Tribbles and The Arena... So, isn't it weird that TWO tribble references would pop into my world in the same week? I mean, I've gone at least a decade without mentioning, referencing, or otherwise thinking about that and then POW! Twice in one week. Weird.

  3. What are the chances? I liked the photo because it's Peeps dressed up in ridiculous costumes. I would've used the O-R photo, but I don't own the copyright. Oh, well.

  4. You forgot all about Mugshot Monday at the Beaver County Times. Journalism at its best. There is a new type of sensationalism that is being tolerated -- and these things are all cases in point.