I feel like I’m in the locker room and Alan is giving the newspaper industry a rousing half time speech.
Newspapers need to get off their haunches, boldly pick their shots, and then rip the lids off their respective towns, turning themselves once again into confident and thundering voices delivering coverage that compels attention and delivers results.
I am reminded of a speech scribbled down hastily by Thomas Paine before the Battle of Trenton in 1776. It’s appropriate here as well because, well Paine is always appropriate but also because his point is that the value of something fought for is proportional to the price one pays in the process.
“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.”
The history of the newspaper business is intertwined with the history of our country, now is not the time to shrink away to simply call survival success but rather reinforce the core values of journalism, made even more important following an election that featured some of the most biased and insipid coverage of current events that we have ever seen. If newspapers wish to recover economically then they must recover their reputations first.