What will become of the paperless society? Newspapers serve a very powerful role in creating a dialogue in the community. They also keep the power-that-be in line, in check, dare I say… sometimes honest? Who is going to uncover the corruption, the scandals, the misuse of public funds, and the changing world around us? Newspapers educate the public. Without relevant competition among them, complacency sets in. People want more accountability in this world – but with fewer eyes and ears on the lookout, who is going to do that job?
The demise of the newspaper hit a little too close to home once again when several friends lost their positions recently. Yes, we can get our news online. But I weep for future generations that may not experience their fathers reading the Sunday funnies to them, or commuters wrapping their hands around that paper on the morning train to work. The Internet, sadly, is an elitist method of news gathering. One-fifth of U.S. households do not have Internet access. Many of those have also never sent an e-mail. So, is that the way news is going to be? If you can afford it, you’re worthy?
Here is a telling video of Denver’s Rocky Mountain News last days. The paper closed a few weeks ago. I sincerely hope, not just for my sake, but for the world, that this is not a foreshadowing of events to follow.