Thursday, January 25, 2007

'Name me anything you can buy today for 50 cents.'

James O'Shea to Los Angeles Times staff

Sometimes 50 cents won't even buy a newspaper. None was on the front porch at 7 this morning. I called for re-delivery and by 8 I had the Chicago Tribune from Jan. 6. Oh, you want today's paper? It's on the Web.

Ex-Tribune managing editor O'Shea is in Los Angeles now, attempting to raise the sights of the news staff beyond their navels. A reading of the transcript suggests that he believes that his medium needs to be more, uh, mediated.

"The Internet is massive," O'Shea said. "The newspaper is the edited medium. ... Just as a blog is not a God-given right to inflict ignorance on an unsuspecting public, there's no journalistic birthright for print reporters to write an 80 inch story when 30 inches will do."

The proof was at my doorstep. The Jan. 6 Tribune attempted to analyze the prospects of an Iraq troop "surge," still a vital topic. A paper that's three weeks old is no longer immediately obvious in the same way as, say, a broken RSS feed. Who wants yesterday's Web site?

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