Kerry Dougherty laments the slow and intractable decline of our local news industry, especially The Virginian-Pilot.
I share her sense of grief, but I have to say that I like the Internet better than the local newspaper. In my youth, the daily paper was the epitome of news publishing, both in terms of craft and technology and as a social institution. Being an epitome, daily papers naturally attracted high talent. The Pilot was like that. Some of its writers — Friddell, Vincent, Madry, Dougherty — were among the best in the nation.
Still, a local paper is like a box of a certain size. It can only contain so much on any given day. The Internet is like a box of infinite size. It can contain everything every day, including past and present. Plus, the Internet contains no shortage of the best writers in the world. For these reasons the Internet is clearly better in my view than any local newspaper could ever be.
Except for the puzzles on the comics page. For decidedly McCluhanesque, possibly tactile reasons, they just don’t translate well to electronic media.