Monday, August 01, 2011

894 The Evening Paper

894 The Evening Paper

A friend commented on Wessay 892, I Don't Understand, saying that long list of things left un-understood could be blamed in part on the 24 hour news cycle...”  among other things.

The genie is out of the bottle and no one’s going to shut down CNN, HLN, MSNBC, Fox and all the all-news websites.  And “everyone” “knows” that the day’s-end newscasts on NBC, CBS and ABC are practically anachronisms, thought unlikely to gain audience over time, no matter how well they summarize and “investigate” what went on today.

The news weeklies like Time and Newsweek are fighting to stay viable and for the most part failing.  “The Week” is a good alternative because like the 6:30 network newscasts, it tries to summarize what went on and like Google and Yahoo, they are a news aggregator rather than someone trying to convince you they’re bringing “perspective” or originality to stories everyone has already covered.

So in the face of the “print news is dead” conventional wisdom, how about a completely unrealistic choice for people who don’t need the TV shrill fests on in the background all day:  bring back the evening paper.

The network newscasts killed that animal with some help from a stock market that closed too late for the final figures to make the business page and the proliferation of night games in professional baseball, basketball and hockey  to make the sports page.

Digression:  many telemarketers who used to interrupt your dinner are out of work because of the do-not-call laws.  Many of these could be harnessed to deliver an evening paper that might arrive on your doorstep around the time they used to make the obnoxious calls.

So how about an evening newspaper that tells you the day’s news without all the clattering that goes on during a developing story on TV?
A school bus or an airplane crashes around noon.  NewsNet’s NewsCopter is on the scene showing you pictures.  NewsNet’s NewsAnchor, usually someone shrill enough to raise the dead even when whispering, tells us a bus or plane has crashed.  “We don’t know how many people were aboard.  We don’t know whose bus or plane it was, where it started, where it was headed, why it crashed, how many people died or were injured.  Hour after hour, the “live coverage” continues.  There’s a new piece of information here and there.  We get a body count.  It goes up.  It goes down.

Five hours later there may be a fairly complete story available.  The evening paper would have that information without having to keep yapping for five hours and playing the same ten second video clip over and over and over.

Most of us don’t need to know any more than the basics.  And the basics aren’t immediately available right away.  But once TV starts the story, it can’t stop.

The fight over the budget can get a day’s end summary, and all of the small things that happen between 9 and five can be either compressed into something comprehensible or ignored.

So, someone, please try this.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com.
© WJR 2011

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