by Max Brantley
A fax (remember when that machine was the greatest invention in history) just whirred in from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newsroom with a cover sheet saying: "Fodder for your blog."
I was faxed what would appear to be a copy of an e-mail from publisher Walter Hussman to Paul Smith, the newspaper's general manager, and copied to editors and others in his multi-state media company. It's about news stories reporting the end of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer as a news "paper." It's going to try to make a go of it as an Internet-only news outlet. The note:
Paul, worth reading, in that it is the first print to web only conversion of a daily newspaper.
Our goal is to try and make sure this never happens to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and our other newspapers.
You know, that's laudable and the fighting spirt and all. And I just got through telling a UALR class yesterday that there's an almost physical enjoyment for old heads like me in reading a newspaper, as opposed to web versions. Plus, nobody has yet packaged the paper electronically in a way that I find as easy to peruse thoroughly as the old-fashioned model.
Still, don't you think that electronic newspaper reading devices (think Kindle, but better) someday will be so thin and cheap and flexible (almost like paper), that publishers will rush to stop killing trees, shipping tons of newsprint, building vast industrial plants using barrels of ink, maintaining fleets of trucks that consume huge amounts of gas and diesel, employing untold numbers in circulation, etc. It's hard to imagine, I know. But I never thought I'd see anything as wondrous as a fax. And I still don't have a cellphone.