I live in Atlanta, where the Journal-Constitution has turned itself into a joke. As with most major dailies, it has become timid—afraid even to hire a metro columnist over anxiety that that person would have an independent base. Its coverage of the Bush administration and the Iraq war has been pathetic. It has withheld news that might offend Georgia’s white racists (as chronicled in the recent book Buried in Bitter Waters, by, incredibly, a Cox Washington reporter, Elliott Jaspin), and it gives many incompetent and corrupt black politicians a free pass because it’s afraid it will be called racist.I tend to vacillate between hope and despair for print journalism . A deep dark secret is I like newspapers and I mean real, honest-to-god, slabs of dead tree dailies. I'm one of those guys who picks up the paper every day - actually refuses to get a subscription because I like the feel of plopping down a couple of quarters on the newstand and talking to the clerk about the headline.
But after reading John's piece, pondering the recent AJC layoffs and remembering how a CNN Online editor once explained how he could run his entire operation (news only, not IT) with five staff, the downhill slide into the fossilizing tar pits seems inevitable.