It had been over five years since I read a Newspaper, I prefer the ‘here and now’ news available online or via the cable news networks, but that changed today! My wife dragged me out to the store and at the checkout was a pile of copies of the local paper, the Picayune Item. It was dated Saturday, but I seem to recall that there is no Sunday edition (Picayune, MS, rolls the sidewalks up on Sundays). So this was the ‘big’ edition of the week! And big it seemed, it had the heft of a New York Times Sunday edition.
When we got home I discovered that the ‘heft’ was due almost entirely to advertising inserts. Oh well you should never judge a Picayune Item by its size.
So, I started on the front page. The lead article was titled ‘Like A Pro’. Apparently, Picayune resident James Pipper started playing soccer at age 4, now at age 20 he has just spent 2 weeks in Italy at a soccer camp. Good for James, but is this the best news in Picayune?
The next item seems at first to be actual news ‘Myers Found Guilty Of Child Porn’. Who James Allen Myers might be and how large a menace to society he may be is unclear. At age 86 I seriously doubt that residents need to take extra precautions.
My favorite item on page one is ‘Variety Shows In Picayune’.
Tim Burns is the owner of Picayune;s Burns Barber Shop. Apparently he has opened a family friendly small theater Solid Gold where on Friday evenings he and his friends will entertain you.
In a town that has little going for it, I guess Tim is doing ground breaking work. The movie Footloose comes to mind.
Recently the properties across the street from me were sold and are being renovated. I am sure that the Picayune Item will be featuring the new pile of Red Dirt brought in to help with the foundations in next Saturdays block buster edition.
Of course it is mean to pick on the Picayune Item, they have been around since 1904. I am sure that at one point they actually did produce a newspaper with news. Other than the front page there is little crafted by the reporters, almost everything else is sourced from AP. You might consider this article as an attack on the Picayune Item, it is not, I could pick any small regional newspaper and see the same formula being applied.
Newspapers are inconvenient, the online world provides a faster access to what is happening locally, nationally and around the world. It is a shame, the local newspaper was very much an integral part of the community. I grew up in a small English village, the newspaper was a vital source of information. This was long before the Internet, 24 hour TV news channels, and all of the other sources we use today.
Times change, technology changes, everything changes. A great example is the camera. For a birthday present in 1961 my parents gave me a Kodak Brownie. It was the very pinnacle technology. 8 shots per roll of film and a three day wait to have the film processed and printed. In the 70’s I moved to the world of SLR and 35 mil film stock. I learned how to do my own processing and printing. After a sail boat adventure in the late 80’s I discovered that salt water and SLR’s are not the best of friends. I also discovered that the Fresnel Screen focus had given way to ‘Auto Focus’. In the 90’s my film could be processed and printed in under an hour.
The 00’s brought in the idea of the digital photo. The problem was, the results were awful. Technology to the rescue! Kodak no longer makes film, there are no places that can process it.
Medium comes and medium goes. The newspaper is dead. It is right up there with floppy disks, 8 tracks, cassette tapes, and Chia Pets.