Notes from Indian Country
How long before the digital media replaces print newspapers?The foreign journalists admitted to the Nieman Fellowship Program at Harvard came to America to learn about freedom of the press. In my Class of 1991 there were 12 foreign journalists from countries like Russia, Poland, India, Nigeria, Columbia, Ecuador and Ghana. There were also 12 American journalists from newspapers like the Washington Post, Charlotte (NC) Observer, USA Today, Louisville Courier, Houston Chronicle, Philadelphia Enquirer, Indian Country Today and others. In 1991 there were print newspapers like the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Tucson Citizen and the Rocky Mountain News. All of these papers no longer print and the list of print newspapers vanishing from the scene grows with every passing year. In 1991 none of the Nieman Fellow Journalists even saw this coming. And as each newspaper locks its doors, a little more of freedom of the press is lost. One of the joys I had in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was to go to the corner deli next to my apartment, get a big cup of coffee on a Sunday morning, and pick up a copy of the Boston Globe, a great newspaper. In my hometown our local newspaper, the Rapid City Journal, has cut down to 5 days. There is no longer a Sunday or Monday newspaper. And I miss that.
Newspapers like our local daily had to cut back in order to survive and it wasn’t just in Rapid City, it is happening all over America. What is going to happen to these newspapers that are the watchdogs over our local, state and national governments? Will the attacks by the White House on the media stick in the minds of many Americans and eventually cause them to place all of their faith in the Internet media over their local newspapers? The one thing our newspapers have always had over the news on the Internet is accountability. Newspapers must stand behind the words they publish. The Internet media does not. I miss my Sunday and Monday newspapers, but I understand why this had to happen. It is possible that all newspapers will go digital in the very near future and I dread that day. In the meantime we newspaper publishers will keep on punching and scratching to bring honest and reliable news to our readers. And I wonder about the future of the foreign journalists who come to America to learn about freedom of the press. How much longer will that freedom be around?
Contact Tim Giago at firstname.lastname@example.org. Giago was the recipient of the H. L. Mencken Award for Editorial Writing presented by the Baltimore Sun.
Note: Content © Tim Giago
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