Bees Are More Important Than Newspapers

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bees are more important than newspapers.

If you made it early enough to catch the previews before Page One: Inside the New York Times, you probably came to the same conclusion.

Bees -according to the preview of a “riveting” and “life changing” documentary called Vanishing of the Bees- are extremely vital to the sustainability of life as we know it. And, I get it. They pollinate things, perform essential duties, etc. It had me at hello.

Newspapers, in all their journalistic and printed glory, aren’t nearly as vital. This is evidenced by all the bankruptcies, layoffs, cutbacks, scaledowns, and downsizing of some once prominent US based newspapers, such as the Rocky Mountain News.

“Something’s happened. There’s been a shift a change, some shift in values.” –Queen Elizabeth, in The Queen.

I’m not telling any tales out of school when I say people don’t need newspapers to get their information. In fact, in a time of up-to-the-second updates, newspapers offer dated products with the same stealth as a maimed snail.

No longer is Ward Cleaver coming home from a long day’s work to find his neatly folded newspaper waiting for him beside his plate of corn, mashed potatoes, and chicken breasts.

What’s going to save newspapers? Is the answer bigger, longer, and more in-depth articles? In a society that demands information right now and in the quickest form possible, absolutely not.

With that in mind, the New York Times thinks it’s found its way around the proverbial iceberg.

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

Those words must have been music to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange when the Times came to his sandbox asking him of they could play.

To stay relevant, and most importantly, read, the Times showed up to joust on a slightly shorter horse, and embraced Wikileaks, by running it’s features on Page One for the better part of a month.

But where does the Times go from here? Wikileaks can only produce so many cable leaks and grainy camcorder videos.

The answer? Pay for Play.

The Times is charging it’s online readership to view certain articles and features. Why? Because it’s the Times, that’s why.

But it can’t stand behind that gilded shield forever. Our appetite for news right now is only going to get stronger as time goes on. There’s no going back.

No can say for sure what the future for newspapers holds. Some say tablet technology is the key to its evolution. Say some say the opposite.

I think there’s more to it. 

I hit the streets with CJOB this week to find people who wanted to talk about the provincial election and all things politics. I kid you not, each time I approached someone for an interview, a smile would slowly appear on their face. The millisecond I mentioned I had questions about the election, those smiles wilted faster than Richard Baschuck's spinach patch on a frost laden night.

People don't want to think about or discuss anything important anymore. More people had opinions on Jersey Shore, the Kardashians, and other things pop-culture than who should be trusted to lead our province.

Maybe there's a reason why TMZ has a TV channel, and the New York Times doesn't.


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