Reporter's Note: The President has asked people to write with ideas to help the country. I’m writing a letter a day.
Tom Foreman | Bio
Dear Mr. President,
I am mourning the loss of a friend this weekend, who used to show up on my porch. When I lived in Denver, The Rocky Mountain News was a newspaper I admired and enjoyed. It was well written, well reported, and in the days before the Internet became king, it was a solid way to keep track of what was going on. And now it has flown its last banner headline.
Newspapers are folding, or threatening to, everywhere: New York, Miami, Seattle, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and more. Advertising has dried up, costs have gone up, and computers have eaten up their readers. I, like millions of others, now get a massive portion of my daily news by surfing news sites.
I’m not moping over the disappearance of a newspaper just because I like ink-stained fingers, and piles of papers to carry out to the recycling bin, although real paper has its pluses. For example, I tried to line a bird cage with an old laptop. No good. And forget about wrapping fish. Still, I’ve always accepted that the physical world of newspapers would change eventually, and electronic newspapers would be the future.
What worries me, however, is that the journalists who are leaving these failing newspapers are by and large not going on to jobs reporting for news websites. They are just going away, because there aren’t enough websites out there paying enough money for these people to live on. It’s nobody’s fault, I suppose, and I’m not asking you or anyone else to feel sorry for journalists. I’m well aware that many Americans think we are as much a part of the problem as we are of any solution in this country. But I believe each time a good paper like the Rocky closes, we lose an important asset: Skilled, professional journalists, who want to help all of us find the truth about the communities and the country we live in.
Are there bad ones? Sure. I’ve met some, and I’ve been accused of being one. But the vast majority of news people I know take seriously the idea that we should be unbiased, professional, and committed to the good that comes from finding facts. This is an honorable profession even if people in it do not always behave honorably. So the loss of the Rocky, I think, is a real loss for America. News that I hate to hear.
Call if you want to grab a bite. How was the Bulls/Wizards game?
For more of the Foreman Letters, click here.
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