That could take forever!


Two of the grand themes from earlier Arlo and Janis, Arlo’s vicarious obsession with sailing and Janis’ petty jealousies.

Several of you have asked about my thoughts on the newspaper industry in the wake of the troubles in Detroit. This isn’t the ideal forum for analyzing such a multi-faceted cock-up (Go ahead: look it up.), but as you might imagine, I do follow the tribulations of the industry closely.

Two events have received a lot of attention in recent weeks, the decision of The Christian Science Monitor to go to an online version exclusively and the recent announcement that the two Detroit papers, The Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News, will cease daily home delivery. The Detroit papers will continue home delivery but on a curtailed basis. We needn’t go into the specifics to understand what a departure from tradition this is.

While the same pressures squeezing all print newspapers are driving both these events, I don’t think either is representative of the whole situation. The Christian Science Monitor is hardly a typical newspaper. While journalistically respected, it derives most of its support from a foundation, not from advertising or suscription revenue, and it is, with the glaring exception of USA Today, the last of a long-gone breed, the national newspaper. As for Detroit, it is an uncommonly distressed market. Times there are tough, tough, tough. While it may be argued that the Motor City is a harbinger of things to come everywhere, it mercifully isn’t yet representative of the country as a whole.

I suppose the good news is, these events are in ways unique and not necessarily destined to spread to the industry as a whole. There’s plenty of bad news, though. We’ll get into that tomorrow.