Do We Measure Our Lives in Sound Bites?

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In August of this year, a Chicago Sun-Times writer thought that he need to keep up with the times. Jay Mariotti's two word e-mail (I quit!) have send a fury of criticism from the realm of print. One of the criticism's came from a Chicago Sun-Times veteran, Roger Ebert, who made sure that Mariotti departure was definetly lacking class. In his letter to Mariotti, Ebert had stated things that I was a little confused about. Ebert stated:

Times are hard in the newspaper business, and for the economy as a whole. Did you only sign on for the luxury cruise?

Do newpaper reporters really have that much of a budget, to send them anywhere on the globe? Let's look at the salary itself.  It would be presumptuous of me to know how much Mariotti made from writing at the Sun-Times.  However, let's say that I had been writing for a Chicago newspaper for 17 years, I could make around $49,000 annually.
Prior agreement may change that figure so it may not be that way in the end. A news report on television makes about $10,000 more.

So maybe the newspapers allow their reporters to go around the world. Yes and No. Yes, we see newspaper reporter travel the globe, but you won't see a Sun-Times reporter leave Chicago very often. Most newspaper and online outlets get there news from the Associated Press. Newspaper usually get the information, especially on world events, from them.

Mariotti noticed how newspapers did not get enough coverage into the Beijing Olympics. He convinced himself that it was a dying medium. But is it, really? At the Unversity of Hartford in 1991, there will be a lot of factors that lead to the decline of readership. One of the major factor is competion from other media due to technology. However, technology also saved the newspaper the same fate as the VHS.

If the death of the newspaper was eminent, then why did so many people reacted to the thing that Mariotti wrote. As a sport writer, he was always trading jabs with local sports figures like Ozzie Guillen. The fact that Guillen loved Mariotti's downfall made him enjoy every last second of this situation. The problem between these two became so bad that he used a homosexual slur to describe him. Marriotti had put gas in the flames by basically enciting his collegues to rip into Guillen.

Is this what we become? We rather watch a 7 sec sound bite than study a well-written article. I think that Mariotti had quit for personal reasons and not to wake everyone up from the depths of print extinction. In the world of sports, politics, and national news the print world could be a viable medium. National newspapers like the New York Times, are going online, but tradition is still strong by printing it on paper.

7 Comments

I don't think it is necessarily that we want to watch a 7 sec sound bite instead of read. I think it is how fast-paced our lives are. People don't have the time to sit down and read the newspaper cover to cover when they're work-a-holics or little jimmy has seven extracurruiculars to attend each week. We can't multitask like we did if we just watched what was "important" on the internet and so it feeds the notion that we're not "doing" anything useful with the little time that we have.

Our lives this time of age revolve around high-speed technology, cars, and fast food. Like Aja said, we dont have the time to sit down and read the newspaper from front to back.
So if we happen to be online doing work for either school or a job and an article appears on our Yahoo! email account we will take a gander, but we won't go out of our way to buy the paper when we can access it online for free and quickly.

I agree with both of you. However, I think that Mariotti was mistaken we he was convinced that newspapers are a dying breed. Most of the information that Yahoo get are from web versions of printed newspapers. I'm not implying that we should read papers cover to cover. I think we should rethink the relevance of print.

Mariotti was asking for it. The real world isn't high school; his situation with Ozzie reminds me of when one of your friends went through a breakup and she got angry with you for not talking trash about her ex. The medium isn't dying-it is just adapting. How manys news articles have you read in print latley? Articles found in print publications can also be found on the web. They contain the same content as their print counterparts. Technology did save the newspaper-I think internet news access has informed the world more than print ever did. It's near-instant communication.

I found this article( I don't know if anyone else has seen it)that supports the newspapers change. In one way, it is dying and in another it is growing and changing like all life. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/gate/archive/2006/07/05/notes070506.DTL&nl=fix

Aja
I wrote my essay on the "death" of newspapers as well. And yes, it is true that we live in a fast paced world. But thankfully not everything has become immediate and technology driven. We still have the newspaper and that should mean something! There are still people out there who enjoy taking the time to read indepth articles about a world event as opposed to scanning a headline on the web. It also means more jobs:)

While the future of the newspaper is changing, I do not think it will come to a fate even as drastic as the VHS. There is something alluring in a picking up a flimsy piece of paper that leaves faint black smudges on your fingertips as opposed to staring at an LCD screen for the same information. There is not much enticing about a VHS that's quality fades after a certain number of viewings and whose tape can become tangled with the pulling of your entertained child's pudgy fingers as opposed to a disc that is easily put into the player and does not need to be rewound.

(I still adore my VHS tapes. They might not be a medium that new movies are sold in, but they are still in use.)