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March 13, 2009

Overnight Open Thread: Slower Please! (genghis)

I know you guys get tired of commenting on the impending doom of major newspapers night after night, but as a very smart military blog it’s our responsibility to document their death spirals. I know how sad it makes you to read these stories. After all, when they’re gone, who will Decide for us? I fear the nation will become rudderless, not knowing who to turn to as we struggle to find opinions of our own. It’ll all be over soon enough though and then we can get back to the things that mean the most to you, such as this, this and this.

In the meantime, Time magazine helpfully provides us with a list of The 10 Most Endangered Newspapers in America.

”Over the past few weeks, the U.S. newspaper industry has entered a new period of decline. The parent of the papers in Philadelphia declared bankruptcy, as did the Journal Register chain. The Rocky Mountain News closed, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, owned by Hearst, will almost certainly close or only publish online. Hearst has said it will also close the San Francisco Chronicle if it cannot make massive cuts. The most recent rumor is that the company will lay off half the editorial staff. Still, that action may not be enough to make the property profitable.”

As we all know, editorials and opinion are the primary profit center in any major news-gathering organization. This is sure to be a crippling, and perhaps fatal, blow to the Chronicle, once considered a primary manufacturer and exporter of America’s editorial products. Sadly though, it appears to have fallen victim to global trade and cheaper foreign imports like so many other manufacturing sectors. There may come a day when the domestic editorial sector completely collapses and we have to rely entirely on imported opinion from such nations as China and Vietnam.

(thanks to Jubal Anderson Early for the tip)

A Seattle P-I update below the fold...

We’ve been following the sad tale of the Seattle P-I’s pending closure for weeks now, and while they were granted a one week reprieve until next Wednesday, two-time Pulitzer-Prize-winning editorial cartoonist David Horsey weighs in with his perspective regarding the current crisis: (format condensed from original)

”SEATTLE -- The closure of the Seattle P-I would mark the end of an era for award-winning cartoonist David Horsey. Horsey's cartoons aren't going anywhere - his syndicated cartoons will continue to appear in other newspapers and online, but Horsey will lose his home of 30 years. He's been poking fun at politicians for decades, but when Horsey talks about the approaching closure of his hometown newspaper, his satirical side disappears.”
“Horsey quickly learned the power of his pen."The biggest reaction I ever got was way back when I first began this job," he said. His vision of what the Tacoma Dome might look like angered Pierce County readers. "I did a cartoon that was basically a Seattle boy making fun of Tacoma, pictured the dome smokestack coming out of it with bowling, and wrestling and topless dancers," he said.”
“After the paper folds, Horsey will remain with Hearst Corp. and continue creating cartoons for newspapers and the Web. But this week, he's preparing his sketch for the P-I's final edition."What I'm doing is taking the great icon of the P-I, the globe," he said. "We have this eagle on top flying off into the distance." That's one Horsey cartoon that will not draw laughter.”

Oh, I don’t know about that. As a tribute, the cartoon mentioned above is faithfully reproduced here so you can appreciate the razor sharp wit of Mr. Horsey:

A lot of you overnight droolers are actually from or living in Seattle, but for those who aren’t, here’s my mangled version of history regarding the Tacoma dome and Horsey’s sneering attitude to add some context. It’s from an e-mail I sent earlier to someone so I’ll just cut and paste it here:

”To understand why everyone is so giddy about the P-I going down, all you have to do is look at what he says is one of the first cartoons he did for the paper about 30 years ago. Tacoma is and always has been the working class little brother to Seattle...it's in Pierce county to the south of Seattle just to clarify the caption "Pierce County Mini-Dome." The downtowns are only about 30 miles apart. It's a pretty rough place and mostly working class (their port is actually a little larger than Seattle's) and for many years the city had a reputation for smelling really bad: "The Tacoma Aroma." That was because of all the pulp processing mills and smelters arranged around the port. You know, actual work going on by people who produced things and made commerce flow.”

“But in an effort to try to bring more events into town and boost revenues in the early 80's, the city decided to construct a domed stadium. Seattle had only recently built the much larger Kingdome several years earlier, but the Tacoma Dome wasn't meant to compete directly with it. Btw, it's kind of an architectural wonder as it's the world's largest wooden dome.”

“So that's the take this mincing, effete little snot-nose had on it (and apparently what he also thought of Tacoma residents.) I don't even know what the original purpose of the cartoon was actually about, but so much for taking up common cause with "The Working Man." In Tacoma these were mostly union workers and voted quite heavily for Democrats (but they were Reagan Democrats). Now Mr. Horsey is a little sad that the paper is folding.The poor thing.”

"As a footnote: the Tacoma Dome has been a wildly successful venue for all sorts of events over the years. The Seattle Kingdome was such a horribly built concrete tomb that it barely lived 20 years before getting itself imploded. And Key Arena, probably the closest competitor to the Tacoma Dome now sits empty with no Seattle Supersonics and very few other scheduled events because of the assorted geniuses who run Seattle city govt. "

If anyone spots something there that needs a correction, please let me know. I didn’t move to Seattle until 1991, so the cartoon and dome were before my time. Thanks.

Notice: Posted by permission of AceCorp LLC. Please e-mail overnight open thread tips to xgenghisx@gmail.com. Otherwise send tips to Ace.

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posted by xgenghisx at 01:02 AM

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