This documentary, Black and White and Dead All Over, which focuses on the collapse of the newspaper industry through the lens of Philadelphia, looks fantastic, and I can’t wait to watch it. It’s available for free online here. But this one line from the trailer (3:20) pretty much hints at its (misguided) slant: Where is the Internet going to get its information if the newspaper in your town goes out of business?
Uh, that makes no sense. Do I get a lot of stories from the papers and Philly.com? You bet. But it has nothing to do with there being a physical newspaper or the crummy business model associated with it. It has everything to do with there being reporters – some very good – at those places. When the newspaper goes out of business, there can, could and should be online-only outlets – blogs or otherwise – that crop up to do the same great journalism formatted for a different medium. It’s not rocket science, and this is sometimes the problem with print people– they always assume that journalism can’t be done on the web or elsewhere. That makes no sense. Look no further than The Verge, Medium or dozens of other web-only sites that produce quality work. Newsflash, ink people: Information now starts on the web, not in a 12-hour-old publication.
Anyway, this is your homework over the holidays. Watch this documentary.