I’m picking fights over at Pith that I really have no business picking. But, god damn it, they half-assedly brought me in and now I feel half-assedly loyal to them.
And I’m broken-hearted for the people who have lost their jobs at The Tennessean.
Basically, anything business that puts out a product that is words is in dire shape. It’d be bad enough if it were just a shitty economy. But the whole business model is shifting completely from something that is first print-based but maybe archived digitally to something that is first digital and maybe archived in paper. No one yet knows how to make money doing that. And there are a lot of people who need to make money if they’re going to do the kind of work that needs to get done if you want a functioning democracy.
But none of these problems just erupted out of the ether two years ago, either.
And I still believe that there is an important and prominent place for local news and reporting in a community and I don’t believe that it can be done well by hobby-bloggers (and I don’t mean that term derisively, and I would include myself in those numbers) alone.
But I would put the emphasis on local.
Which brings me to “Ask a Mexican.”
Why is “Ask a Mexican” in any local paper in this city?
Because it’s cheaper to pay for a syndicated column than it is to find someone local.
But what does “Ask a Mexican” tell me about what it means to be Mexican in Nashville?
Again, I’m not trying to pick on anyone. The media industry in this town is filled with people I dearly love.
I’m just saying that, when I want to hear stories about real Nashvillians, to know what’s going on in the lives of the people in my city, my first thought is not to pick up any of the local papers. It’s to turn on my computer.
I don’t think I’m alone.
And that’s the new reality.