Diving headfirst into the teens of the 21st century, astute writers and readers are wondering whether we witnessing the death throes of the print press. The answer, of course, is yes.
Whether I can give up luscious volumes of prose and poetry is doubtful. But the mass reading public has already voted, and from every scrap of evidence on circulation and readership, the paper publications are already dead. They just don’t know it, yet.
One publication whose glory days are gone is such a cluster, such a muddle, that I refuse to visit even its online site because of the increasing frustration I experience with its obtuseness. But even publications aside from racing journals, or more especially those, are collapsing from various factors.
First, the economy has crushed their advertising income, and second they can’t squeeze higher copy prices from cash-poor consumers. Third, it is not economically feasible to print in overseas countries with cheap labor, then ship heavy publications half-way round the world. Color is expensive, and black and white won’t sell unless it’s art. And then there’s the consideration that very little in paper production or pulp-products printing is good for the environment, and young people most certainly understand this, even if those of us who grew up with print as the only thing never thought about it.
So, in my view, the bloated general publications and massive newspaper conglomerates are in even worse shape than the niche publications who do have a product of some kind that consumers really want.
As a result, there has been a great blooming of blogs and new media around the internet fueled by the desire to know and interconnect and express ideas. It is a frenzy of potential and enthusiasm.
And the readers for these new publications springing up on the net and through the blogosphere are typically young, smart, conscious, inquisitive, self-motivated, and damn snarky. Try bullshitting this lot, and they will set you straight.
Those are great attitudes for the production of lively conversation and occasional bouts of deadly serious introspection.
This is a perfect forum for writers and thinkers like Sid Fernando, whose observations at his blog (see here) have drawn a vast international readership. John Sparkman, Ray Paulick, and dozens of other voices are using the clean, immediate, and intimate qualities of the blogging world to reach their readers and to attract new interest and attention to the sport.
This is a wonderful to time to be involved in racing and race reporting, and it is a wonderful time to participate in history because what we do today is shaping tomorrow.
This is a new day.