Professor Daniel Schwarz’s column “The Future of Print News” discusses the failing medium of print news (Alumni POV, November/December). In his brief column, he does not mention the message of print news as a cause for its decline. Journalists are not the innocent victims of changing communication fashion. Rather, journalists themselves continue to drive newspapers into oblivion.
At some time in the past few decades, journalists lost their way. No longer seeing themselves as town criers keeping the people informed, they redefined themselves as being on a mission to change the world. This led them to mislead and deceive the public, to suppress and misrepresent facts. Journalists became mere propagandists in the service of their agendas.
This worked when editors and publishers maintained their control of the process that rationed access to rare print resources. Then came online media that enabled anyone to become an international author and publisher. The new freedom resulted in a blossoming of creativity and truth-seeking. Facts once suppressed by the newspapers became known. Falsehoods published by newspapers were exposed.
Newspapers were once indispensable. They are failing in the networked environment because their practices have become indefensible.
Harry M. Kriz ’70
Daniel R. Schwarz offers hope for the future. The New York Times, according to Schwarz, “is committed to publishing a print newspaper for the foreseeable future.” This is good news for those of us who enjoy the printed page. Yes, print newspapers are no longer the first source for breaking news. We must ask ourselves, however: how urgent is most news? I, for one, prefer “in depth” to “right now.” “Right now” is often incomplete. I admonish those who see an ideal future as paperless to think twice. Print journalism may be hard to replace.
Frank Rycyk ’66
Jefferson City, Mo.