People have long theorized, in sarcastic science-fiction, that we will eliminate books in exchange for 4-D holo-screens and direct USB feeds of data to the brain. Journalism, as the press has ironically spoken schizophrenically about itself, may be facing a similar doom. Words won’t go extinct when books do, and world information won’t go extinct when “the news” does.
This would be a perfect time for something absolutely final and groundbreaking to be done in the field. An investigation of something vital and unnoticed, perhaps; a new Watergate uncovered. An ideal summary of a famous person’s life, with a hint of insight no one else would have written into it, would do the trick. A defining piece written to say what millions have felt, or forgotten to feel, must be written. If this is to be the end, then there has been no better time to write the story that had never been written.
But, as “omg!” reports on Kim Kardashian’s dress, the broad ambitions of a people laid off and losing their way of life somehow don’t seem fully realized.
This could be a golden era for journalism, a glory moment in history where heroes pry themselves from the jaws of potential unemployment and the despair so prevalent as empires of reporting crumble around them, and the men stand apart from the boys and commit themselves to writing the Great American News Story.
In the meantime, some poor soul with a keyboard is reporting that Kim “wowed the crowd” at a Bar Marmont dinner party. A word warrior is putting his remaining years into investigating just how “super sexy” Sienna Miller’s dress was the other night.
I suppose in the times of the most uncertainly (or of certain doom), people turn to that which they are certain about: that which they are familiar with. The repetition is comforting.
The rest of the world rolls on, and even smaller tragedies like the shooting of 13 at a U.S. immigration office, and concerns like North Korea’s first possibly-successful nuclear missile test, are barely visible under the Valley of the Shadow of Debt. People would care, and forums would be buzzing, and most importantly reporters would be pulling experts and politicians to center-stage and interviewing them for any morsel to feed the readers hungry for answers, if people didn’t feel like, “what with the economy and all,” we have too much on our plates.
(Fortunately, as usual, Korea’s missile failed entertainingly.)
And now, the already-clear call to action:
Journalists! Writers! Reporters and investigators! Don’t let the years left to you become a doldrum. In the years that follow, look back and know that, this day, you fought to the last column to keep the paper alive. Close your eyes at night, knowing that you didn’t just fill your usual pages reliably, but that you followed every lead hunting for the stories that really counted. Know that you can tell your children, and perhaps even your grandchildren, that your words boldly ran one million times around this nation, and that they were worth reading.
As for you, non-journaling blogger! Buy yourself a dang paper. It’s Easter Break, so do something good with your dimes and your time.