11.27.2006

Bits'n'pieces Monday

Really the next series of posts will be cleaning out my NNW, but I'll try to segregate them by topic...maybe. I'd like to start by agreeing with Joshua Fruhlinger on newspapers' anti-comics attitude:

Print circulation at American newspapers is in free-fall, and editorial space continues to shrink. The shriveling of the comics is another symptom of a disease metastasizing throughout the newspaper business.

But maybe one reason readers are fleeing print is because the papers don't give them enough reason to believe print is anything special. Few comics fans would dispute that the funnies look best on paper, or that reading the comics in newsprint over breakfast is a pleasing ritual. Going back to the childhood of the modern newspaper business — in the graphically rich Hearst and Pulitzer papers of the early 20th century — one of the main attractions was always the Sunday morning treat of page after vibrant page of full-color comics. But when was the last time an interesting-looking comics page caught your eye, let alone invited you to a full-spectrum visual feast?
Newspapers are probably dying, but they're hastening it by having an anti-content attitude. It's hard to read any newspaper (any broadsheet, anyway) and not get the feeling that their main objective is to calm you down, to make sure you're not that excited about the story they're going to tell you.

My son likes the comics, when he reads them, but I don't really push them on him because they're hard to find; and on Sundays, the LA Times buries them under all the ads, even covering the section up with an ad you have to remove. Screw that; if the LA Times doesn't care about its content, why should I?

The parallels with the network business, and their glee with changing the content-ad ratio to the detriment of content, should be obvious.

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