Good grief. I am now repeating the cliché I keep hearing from family and friends when the discussion turns to the fate and cloudy future of print media.
I have talked about the slow and inexorable demise of quality journalism at one of the newspapers where I once worked, the Amarillo Globe-News.
Then I get the response: It’s happening everywhere!
I guess they intend to make me feel better. It has the opposite effect. That response seems to diminish the agony my former colleagues and I felt while we watched the newspaper decline ever so slowly and steadily.
Now comes news of the death of a community newspaper, the Hereford Brand. Wouldn’t you know it? I am now saying the very thing I’ve been hearing: What’s occurring in Hereford is happening in small towns all across the United States of America.
It sickens me, man.
The social media have helped render newspapers — the products of quality journalism — increasingly irrelevant in people’s daily lives.
Who needs a newspaper when people have those phones in their pockets, or hitched to their belt, or tucked in their purses? They have 24/7 access to cable news shows, Internet sources and any manner of other outlets. They are bombarded with opinion, much of it unqualified. They form their world view on the basis of what pours into those phones or into their laptop or desk top computers.
The Brand will close up officially on Wednesday. Its publisher said declining circulation and advertising revenues have brought about this inevitable outcome.
And by golly, it ain’t unique to Hereford or Deaf Smith County or the Texas Panhandle. It’s happening in communities all across the land.
What’s more, every single one of them is poorer because of this relentless trend.
I am saddened beyond measure and I hate with a passion that I am being forced to acknowledge the sad truth that it’s happening everywhere.