Sunday, August 20, 2006

Blogging from the downside of Akron

Sunday morning and I've just finished reading the paper. Only it wasn't on paper, it was online. Didn't pay a cent to read it and had the fun of responding to local news using the Beacon's online "Comments" feature. I've been posting there all summer long. When that feature was started, the first weeks were pure anarchy. People reveled in the complete freedom to show their intelligence or lack thereof. Posting anonymously gives people the freedom to show what they are really made of, and it can get downright scary. And you know that the person making the ugly racist comments would never speak those in general public. A few weeks ago, an anonymous moderator started deleting the worst of the comments.

The Beacon boards have introduced us to a number of interesing locals, my favorite being The Centrist, who is the poster most people love to hate. He's so gosh darn reasonable, which really ticks some folks off no end! He gets called Lefty and Commie a lot, as if those words mean the same things they used to in the 50s. What are the derogatories for the Right Wing? I don't see anyone using them on the Beacon Boards. Nobody calls them "fundies" or "right wing fascists." We're talking the dwindling percentages of people who still believe in Bush, as in faith-based. They are loud and shrill and kind of fun to pick on at the moment. But we must be vigilent and keep up the campaigning. Positive words that other people will remember.

But now in a post over at Pho's Akron Pages, I read that the Beacon may be reducing their newsroom staff -- perhaps as much as 50%. I feel guilty as hell because I read the thing everyday online and am not subscribing to it. Fact is I don't want a pile of newspapers growing every day to be recycled every week. It's much more convenient to read it online. I would pay for an online subscription because I need my local newspaper and admire many of the writers on its staff. However, paying for news online doesn't seem like it is going to happen in the near future. There are too many places that will always serve it up for free.

I wonder how the NYT Select service is working out for them? I won't pay for that service because I'm still pissed at the way the Times held out on reporting key stories which could have (and should have) had an effect on the last presidential election. But the local news is really important and I shudder at what the new owners of the Beacon may have in store for us. Will there be anyone left to report the disintegration and decay of a once thriving city?


DonB said...

Keep up the blogging, VG. Good reading.

stephanie grant duke said...

Oh for the good old days of the Dumpster Times, but that's a nice new name for your blog! I can see the village green in my mind's eye. There's the horse trough with a a couple of nags drinking. And there's the duck pond where they used to dunk suspected witches. Old newspapers are good for something. You can't put the online paper under your cat's litter box. I like the Wall Street Journal for that. I pick up a free copy at the Westside Cafe when I have a half price coupon lunch there. The WSJ's pages are wider and thicker, especially now the PD and NYT have shrunk theirs.

Ebo said...

There's a bright side to not reading newspapers on newsprint. The process that leaches the ink from the newsprint when you recycle it is horrible for the environment. Go paperless!