I read an interesting post on Murray Chass’ blog today, and believe me Murray, you are a blogger. Chass has contempt for bloggers like me but I have to say that I like his writing. It’s nice to get a fix of “old school” style every now and again. His points are well written even if I often don’t agree with the content itself. I like to read posts from bloggers like Chass because he comes from a very different point of view than I do. And I appreciate that.
Yesterday, Chass lamented that many newspapers that regularly cover MLB teams aren’t covering the World Series this year in-person. He goes on to write that it’s a sign of an industry that’s hurting. There’s nothing new there that we haven’t heard over the last few years. But there are some quotes from MLB Commissioner Bud Selig sadly pondering the loss of some free publicity for MLB. As if they don’t get enough on TV and the Internet already.
This got me thinking, as reading one of Chass’ blog posts normally does, do we really care if a few newspapers decide not to pay for an employee to cover the World Series in-person? I haven’t read a newspaper in years, although I visit their websites frequently, probably even daily. I’m not some “young whippersnapper” either. I’m going to be 41 years-old next week. Do we really even care if some more newspapers go out of business?
I don’t like reading newspapers. There’s too much content that I don’t care about. It takes too long to get to the content that I want to see. It’s not searchable. And I don’t easily have access to archived material. The only redeeming quality about a newspaper is it’s portability. I’d much rather find what I want on a website, or even better in my trusty Feed Demon feed reader that delivers news to me daily.
I’m old enough to remember the days when newspapers were the only game in town. That’s before Al Gore invented the Internet. But I’m young enough to recognize a good thing when I see one. The Internet has given bloggers like me and Murray Chass an outlet for our opinions, even though there are a few bad apples out there, just like in the rest of life.
I don’t want to sound crass or uncaring. The consolidation of the newspaper business has left some good writers out in the cold with the rest of us bloggers. I’ve been there too. I was laid off from my job this year and it’s a terrible experience that I don’t wish on anybody. That’s the downside to this story. I hope that good writers like John Delcos and others can carve out a new, more successful place for themselves than they had before. It would be a shame if the dying newspaper business silenced good baseball writers. That would be the real loss to baseball fans.