Granted, a newspaper — as a cynic once chirped — is just yesterday’s news printed on dead trees. Though these days, it’s also read from smartphone screens, the larger point about old media frumpiness still stands.
That frumpiness aside, though, the passing of newspapers would have a devastating impact on the coverage of local events. The hole they leave would not be filled by CNN whose original reporting tends to center on national — usually political — news. It would not be filled by local TV, whose original reporting tends to begin and end with street crime, weather and sports. And it would not be filled by social media, whose original reporting tends to be nonexistent.
Bottom line, it would not be filled. If you’re living in a news desert and the mayor is crooked, the cops corrupt or the businessmen pervy, how would you know? Chances are, you would not.
Last week, we saw a reminder of how newspaper journalism can still be a force for light and right. The week before that, we saw another reminder, this one of the ongoing decay and decline of a vital institution of democracy. Each reminder offers a starkly different vision of America’s future. You can bet readers of the Vindy know which one they’d prefer.
And that Jeffrey Epstein does, too.
Leonard Pitts writes for The Miami Herald.