Friday, January 02, 2009

Speaking of the news, newspapers have been on the skids for years now. Part of the problem has been the decline of quality, accuracy and fairness that newspapers are supposed to uphold.

But with the rise of the Internet, and the means of getting your news for virtually free, the old standby sources of information have had to struggle as readers depart for other pastures.

It’s nice to have a newspaper to read on a bus or plane, but more people than ever have iPods, laptops, and Blackberrys that can access the news no matter where you are.

Now, there’s talk of a -- wait for it – bailout for newspapers! Please please please, no. Where were the government bailouts for buggy whips and trolleys? Who misses those things, today? Politics aside, I can halfway understand throwing a few bucks at the auto industry – the automobile is not going away anytime soon, and transportation is an important component of our economy. But newspapers?

Let’s look at the Gray Lady: The New York Times. They’re over a billion dollars in debt. They’re going to mortgage their own building just to keep afloat (fat lot that’s gonna get them, in today’s real estate market). But the editorial staff is a shambles. They’ve been the source of flawed coverage of critical stories for years. They’re practically the mouthpiece of the Democratic Party. They’re the Air America of print news. And surprise! Not everybody wants to read about the glories of the Democratic Party every day, or how Republicans are always screwing up the country, or how nobody can find WMDs in Iraq (even though some articles in their own paper say there are).

Why would I want to ever support throwing government money at newspapers? Isn’t the media supposed to be the “fourth branch” of government? Aren’t they supposed to be government watchdogs? If we give them money, will they be fair and balanced – like NPR?

If the silly notion of giving bailout money to newspapers takes root, I’m writing my congressman and senators. Sigh. Again.
Patterico has a summary of all of the reviews he has done of the LA Times. What an ugly mess.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

And goodbye to 2008. Not a terrible year, but certainly plenty of ups and downs. 2008 was my first full year as an independent LLC consultant. And business hasn't been bad. The economy looks very daunting for 2009, and I hope things go well this year as well. I've got one daughter in college, you know; and having to save for the second one as well.

And I have a lot of friends who are looking for work (if you know of any openings for mainframe operations gurus, or BI-ETL consultants, email me). And I see no real evidence that the economy is going to pop back up anytime soon. We have a new President coming into office in a few weeks, and while he's not from my preferred party, he seems to be making sensible Cabinet selections, so there may be hope for us, yet.