Had a great five-mile run this morning at 5 a.m. A little windy, but overall, pretty, pretty good. And by the time I got home, the Akron Beacon Journal and New York Times, dead-tree editions, were occupying prime territory on my porch. I like that. And like old friends who retire to Florida, I’ll miss them when they are gone. Or when they take up residence somewhere in the blogosphere.
Not everyone will. The Pew Research Center sums it up well in a just-released study titled “Stop the Presses? Many Americans Wouldn’t Care a Lot if Local Papers Folded.” And this isn’t one of those academic discussions. It’s playing out now, in real time, as owners are shuttering newspapers in total or moving them to online publications only. Yesterday’s example: Ann Arbor News. Previously announced: Rocky Mountain News, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Christian Science Monitor, Kentucky Post and on and on.
Clearly, the newspaper industry is changing — and this has implications for newspaper employees and their families, for journalism and other students, for our communities and for our democracy. And this isn’t my line — I’ve seen it written in different ways by many people recently. But — we can live without dead-tree editions of newspapers. But we are always going to need ethical, responsible and high-quality journalism.
So saying all that I was encouraged by an article in The New York Times Sunday about Mike Hanke, former editor of the Canton Repository. I knew Mike when we were both taking graduate classes in journalism at Kent State in the early 1970s.
Anyway, Mike went on to carve out a distinguished career in journalism — one that spanned nearly 30 years before his job was eliminated because of financial conditions that are prevalent throughout the newspaper industry.
Yet Mike Hanke represents the qualities that we can’t afford to lose as the industry implodes: character, integrity, ethical conduct and a commitment to informing the public.
There aren’t any NCAA games today to take up your time at work or play. So take a minute and read the story about Mike Hanke.
There is life after newspapers — particularly for people who represent what journalism really stands for, dead-tree, online, whatever.