Two icons, a venerable ‘super-hero’ many of us grew up wanting to emulate and a once-super newsweekly, throw in the towel on print journalism, as each announces a move to online only.
When, in just a one-week period, two icons of mainstream print journalism bite the proverbial bullet …
Which one matters most? Which says the most about the state of traditional mainstream news reporting in the 21st century?
Is it the decision earlier this month to bring to a close the print edition of Newsweek, the once-venerable newsweekly that for decades at least appeared to give Time a run for its journalistic money? Newsweek’s December 31 issue will be its last in print, and from then on it will be an online pub only. It’s a move the once third-place newsweekly, U.S. News & World Report, made some time ago, and few might argue that Time today is at the peak of its erstwhile journalistic or economic strength.
Or is it the decision of Clark Kent — aka Superman, every kid’s ultimate Super Hero, to quit his long-time reporting job with “The Daily Planet,” which an NPR blogger calls his “once great metropolitan daily newspaper.” (That’s a phrase many might say could apply to any number of dailies nowadays.)
The Man of Steel’s reasoning beyond this latest career move? “Disillusioned by his employer’s increasing predilection for glitzy infotainment over hard-hitting news,” wrote Glen Weldon, “Clark takes a principled stand and abandons print journalism for the Web, a medium blissfully free of petty, frivolous, celebrity-driven content.”
Some will want to emphasize here that it’s not the death of journalism per se, but rather the eating-away withering of traditional print news media — and in particular major metropolitan daily newspapers — that’s the issue here.
That and 50 cents may still buy you a cup of coffee in some places, but if you want to drink it while catching up on the day’s breaking news, better have a tablet or smart phone rather than count on being able to pick up a print copy of the area’s “Daily Blather.”
That clock appears to be ticking.