Sunday, October 5, 2008

...In This Economy? Even the Chains Fall

The Creative Loafing logo--more like shelter from the IRS...

In the model of WaMu and the rest of the world's more "stable" institutions, one of the country's leading alternative weekly chains (an ironic idea, no?), Creative Loafing, filed for bankruptcy last week. Print is dead, remember?

Simultaneously, the New York Sun published its "last issue" a couple of times, in the tradition of those Everything Must Go, one day only sales that end up lasting weeks.

New York Press had a vague obit for both rags, mostly wondering the eventual fate of each, a question that may have been answered when Loafing CEO Ben Eason told Atlanta Magazine that he, "wants his journalists to be filling their websites up every day with fresh content. And not just fresh content, but links to other stories written by anyone in the world."

But as laid out in this Gawker post, we have enough bloggers talking about each other's stories--we need someone to do some reporting!

And so Gawker's oddly self-aware blogger proposed a solution:
Fuck an alt-weekly. Become and Alt-monthly. Keep the features. Take your time. Consolidate. Save on printing costs. Save journalismism. And try not to go broke. Your cities will thank you.
Talk about a moment of clarity. Blogging on the level of news aggregation is less an alternative medium than a symptom of lacking capital. Opinions are cheap. We've seen it on the twenty-four hour news cycle and we see it daily on the web, and though ad revenue may be shrinking, I'd love to see someone (anyone!) attempt to make their dollar work for them. Shake it up if you have to, fire some people, cut some corners where necessary, and change the game. Just don't give up on journalism just yet. Not today, not in a world like this.

1 comment:

M. Dery said...

Straight up, no chaser: snarkily funny and unapologetically opinionated, yet well-supported by sources. Excellent. But your ending's a bit of a wet fizzle, because you don't tell us HOW alt.whatevers are going to survive in a flatlining economy, when Craig's List is bleeding newspaper classifieds white and Everything That Can Be Digital, Will Be (WIRED magazine, 1990-something). Fine and well to exhort editors to listen to their better angels and soldier on boldly, but where's the money going to come from, even for a monthly? But I'm thrilled to hear someone expose the naked emperor of aggregated content for the farce it is. Some day soon, we're going to wake up to an online newsworld that consists of everybody linking to Kevin Bacon, by a couple degrees of separation, and nobody doing the tough gruntwork of actually reporting. How much refried, micronuked opinion can we eat before we O.D. on the stuff?