[permaculture] media ecology die-off

Marimike6 at cs.com Marimike6 at cs.com
Tue Jan 13 14:32:00 EST 2009

Thanks for the topic, Nicholas. The demise of newspapers is very real. What 
has happened is a result of mergers and acquisitions as much as anything. 
Predators will accumulate huge debt burdens to acquire newspapers and chains, like 
Knight-Ridder or McClatchy. Once acquired, the burden is on those papers to 
finance all the debt accrued in gobbling them up. And the numbers just won't 
support it.

My home town paper is a McClatchy paer, and once a very good one. But when 
they were acquired the first thing they did was to lay off staff across the 
board, including reporting staff. That means, fewer pages and fewer column-inches. 
So the paper shrinks and has to hike subscription prices. That means more 
people discontinue getting it, and things continue to snowball downhill.

The first one to go down the tubes like this was the LA Times.. still 
publishing but a pale shadow of its former self. Now the Chicago Tribune's about to 
fall apart. Plus, as Nicholas mentions, the Seattle P-I.

This is a very real danger for our democracy, which depends on the public's 
being well informed of events in the world. Of course, that public is already 
in large part informed by cable television.. and on first name terms with 
Jennifer, Brad and a host of other faux personalities.

We should be preparing ourselves to defend against content ownership and 
control on the internet. That's the last frontier to be won, for those who would 
like to see us all blissful and content with corporate-sponsored, prepared 
daily infotainment. The stalking horse there, I think, will be the idea of 
intellectual property rights.

It's always something new. 20,000 years ago it was saber tooth tigers you had 
to watch out for. Now it's adverse buyouts and corporate downsizing.

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