Death of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer

You know what?  I like it that print is dying.  Good, I think to myself.  Down with print!  Down with that ultimate expression of our love of disposability.  Used once and thrown out, newspapers have carved through forested land for long enough.

The results are utter waste: the papers go right into the trash usually, the land cleared of forests will take decades to recover if it does at all, and most of the words printed are never even graced by a pair of eyeballs.

Oh no they’re not printing — but what’s the loss?  I can look at it online anyway.

Am I wrong?  Is print taking with it the investigative journalists who keep government honest?  Are the payrolls of reporters dying with their old-fashioned medium?  Is the fall of the press really tied to the material, or is it tied to the short attention spans of readers?  Or is it really tied to the investor demand for quicker profits than an old-fashioned newspaper company can provide?

Seattle’s presses stopped for good today; Denver’s did a few weeks back.  Detroit circulates only three days a week now.  Indianapolis shut down its afternoon paper a few years back.  Others are in bankruptcy.

Celebrate!  Consider: if the average newspaper eats up a whole tree for every 1000-to-1500 copies, then the Seattle PI (circulation 117,000 on a weekday) was eating up about 450 trees a week just from the weekday editions.  That fat Sunday paper is far worse, of course, because it’s bigger and because all the glossy stuff is much more paper-intensive and energy-intensive.

So cancel your subscription.  Sure, you can counter that their servers use energy to host the website, so there’s still a carbon footprint to the news biz.  True, but those will run anyway, whether or not you click.  It’s like the bus — it’s already running, so you aren’t adding to the problem by riding it.

But like so many of our dbad environmental habits, we shed them here only to watch them go like gangbusters in China, India, Brazil, etc.  They lurve the newspapers over there.

And they’re gonna keep at it.  Sigh.


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