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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 10, 2005 / 8 Mar-Cheshvan, 5766

Resuscitating the Daily Newspaper

By James Lileks


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | According to recent surveys of newspaper readership, you are not reading your daily newspaper. You get your news from somewhere else — the Internet, talk radio, an alien satellite that pipes everything through your fillings, the guy at the coffee shop who can't shut up about Dick Cheney.

No one is reading newspapers. Not even the people who make the newspaper. Even its traditional markets — cat-box liner, packing for glassware when you move — have been taken over by new alternatives. (You can pack your glassware in cat-box litter, for example.) Newspapers are dead.

Really? People have been predicting the death of papers since TV started slaughtering the afternoon dailies. The rise of the home computer, for example, convinced investors to sink bazillions in proprietary systems that delivered the news on eye-killing, tumor-inducing low-res monitors. Newspapers survived. AOL did not kill the paper, because the daily paper never had AOL's technological problems. (I can't open the paper! It's busy!) Cable talk shows did not kill the paper, unless you believe people have decided that Bill O'Reilly somehow replaces the comics and horoscopes.

Bias didn't kill the papers; even if you believe that the modern paper is staffed entirely with Bolsheviks intent on forcing everyone into hemp jumpsuits and hybrid autos, the market for lefty-slanted news is still substantial. If you can't make a pretty penny peddling Bush-Is-Evil in this market, you're not trying.

What threatens newspapers is the medium itself. Its virtues are undeniable — it has dispatches from foreign lands, lost-pet ads, AND it mops up spills. It has ease of use, serendipity, tradition, a reputation assembled over the decades, a mix of high and low. That's the problem: It's all things to all people.

This is the era of narrowcasting, of picking and choosing from a hundred different sources, most of which cover the topic better than most newspapers. No one interested in computers bothers with what newspapers have to say about the subject; no one eager to discuss the last episode of "Lost" flips to the TV page on Thursday morn. It's all on the Web — the greatest public square in human history, complete with pickpockets and sphincterless pigeons.

Technology is rewriting the paradigms with such speed that newspapers can barely report on them in a timely fashion, let alone adapt.

A layout artist using a fancy program to arrange wire copy on a page is still doing a Gutenberg, so to speak. Meanwhile, the technologically savvy are plucking their own information out of the ether and sorting it to fit their twitchy modern lives. NBC provides podcasts of its popular news programs, and you can automate the download. Grab the iPod on the way out the door, connect the FM transmitter in the car, and voila: customized radio en route to work. How can newspapers compete without giving every subscriber a personal servant who reads the paper aloud from the back seat?

But it's not a fatal spiral. Not if newspapers go local. Unfortunately, most papers still see themselves as the Trusted Guardians of the Global Yesterday, serving up a cold meal of worldwide news to people who've already read the updates on the Web. This is a mistake. Leave the big picture to The New York Times and the Washington Post and the networks. Get small. Only newspapers have the resources to cover their hometowns. Yes, newspaper readers want to know about the world. But they also want crime and restaurant reviews and cute spelling bee winners and dog photos and anti-pothole crusades.

Also, stop chasing the younger market. They do not care what your reviewer thinks of "Doom the Movie." They played the game AND blew through the expansion pack AND downloaded a bootleg of the film on BitTorrent. Trying to court this demographic makes newspapers look like Grandpa doing the Funky Chicken, and it hurts.

In any case, newspapers are dead, the experts assure us. Pity, but these things happen. Media rise and fall. People move on. Why, once upon a time, millions of Americans got their news and opinions by listening to the AM band of the radio. AM radio! Really.

Who could imagine such a thing today?

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor James Lileks is a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Comment by clicking here.

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© 2005, James Lileks

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