First Thing We Do, Is Kill All the Newspapers

Craig Stoltz wrote what appears to be a slightly tongue in cheek diatribe about the impending death of print media and what journalists (or all of us) should do to encourage it.

Kill All the Newspapers

But donating 50 cents at a time to slow that change down is actually mean-spirited, like pulling the legs off a spider so it suffers longer. It’s like keeping a brain dead patient alive on the heart-lung machine not because there’s hope, but because you loved him. Time to pull the plug, administer morphine, have the cremation and get on with the cycle of life. Life, as Thorton Wilder has taught every sixth grader via Our Town, is for the living. Newspapers are not living.

Craig Stoltz

Today, every journalist who cares about news should put 50 cents in a street box, pull out all the papers, and throw them in the trash. Repeat daily until you get caught by the cops. Spend your night in jail, and have colleagues organize rallies and press conferences on your behalf when you are released.

You were only breaking a small law to make a big point, they’ll tell the assembled press. (What did you destroy, $6.50 in property, retail?) You were trying to save an institution vital to the democratic process. You had to turn to extralegal means only because conventional channels blocked civic progress, they’ll explain. Put the press conference clips on YouTube, and game Digg to make sure it gets circulated widely.

Journalists have done jail time to protect the First Amendment before, and that’s what they need to do here. If journalists don’t band together to preserve journalism in the digital world immediately, the marketeers, bloggeurs, real estate developers and technotweak gazillionniares will fill the news gap by creating “online newspapers” in communities everywhere. It is, of course, happening already.

If you think the paper barons of today don’t understand the value of real journalism, just wait until these clowns take over.

There will be no responsible press in the near future unless the folks who love it and believe in it force it into the new era as soon as possible. This push will not come from newsroom management. It will have to come from The People.

Craig Stoltz

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