I’m a huge fan of newspapers, and I love the physical act of reading the newspaper. And yet I cancelled my subscription to The Washington Post today.
Newspapers are in a vicious cycle: they are losing readership (and subscribers), so they’re cutting back. In recent weeks The Washington Post has eliminated its book review section; scaled back delivery of the weekly TV Guide; effectively gutted the Sunday Outlook Section; announced plans to end its stand-alone business section; and announced plans to cut back its style section. Then, yesterday, they announced another round of buyouts.
The end result: I’ve been paying for less and less. The business section was really the last straw for me. It’s gone at week’s end, and so am I.
But where does the slow death of newspapers leave investigative journalism? From Watergate to conditions at Walter Reed, The Washington Post has played an important oversight role. Other major newspapers have similarly tracked down and exposed stories of national importance.
Please don’t tell me Fox News or MSNBC will do this. Television is primarily an aggregator of the news. And network news budgets are being cut too, so it is unlikely that the networks will step up and fill the investigative journalism void.
Will investigative journalism die with the newspapers? And what does that mean for our democracy? I’d love to have you weigh in on this topic.
Photo by Hunter Williams (Flickr).