Alert
Close

Get free help preparing your taxes from AARP Foundation Tax-Aide. Find a location

Highlights

Close

Bob Dylan Talks!
Caucasian couple looking at a laptop computer together

Horoscope

Aries - Horóscopo de AARP

Look at what your future holds if your birthday is between March 21 & April 19

CONTESTS & SWEEPS

AARP Superstar Contest

Help pick AARP’s best singers for a chance to win $5,000.

See Official Rules

Win an ARRP Real Pad Tablet - Tribute to an Ancestor Contest

2015 LIFE@50+ MIAMI

Renew for 3 and attend Life at 50+ for free

Most Popular

Viewed

Can Newspapers Survive?

Two books seek out what lies ahead for two prize-winning dailies.

Morning Miracle is both a love letter to newspapers and an elegy for days long gone. A former sports columnist at the Post, Kindred occasionally waxes hokey ("…what the hell was going on was that newspapers were going to hell") or just plain grumpy: "Now it's Web this, iPhone that," he grouses at one point.

He's at his best when he lets high-flying Post writers tell how they got that story. Dana Priest and Annie Hull, for example, reveal what went into their groundbreaking exposé of Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the deplorable conditions for wounded soldiers there. And Anthony Shadid revisits his interview with an Iraqi father who executed his own son (the younger man had been identified as an informer).

Kindred also nails what's wrong with newspapers in general, and with the Post in particular. In financial terms, the Post's newspaper division lost $192.7 million in 2008. In human terms, the paper imposed hiring freezes and offered even its veteran employees multiple buyouts, which together yielded a demoralizing 50 percent cut in the newsroom staff.

Yet The Washington Post is in better shape today than many of its peers. Its owners, the Grahams, are more involved — and more enlightened — than the Journal’s Bancrofts ever were. And thanks to a canny purchase back in 1984, the Washington Post Company nets as much as $150 million each year from its test-prep subsidiary, Kaplan Inc.

So now what? Kindred lets the Post's brightest star, Bob Woodward, have the near-final word. Still breaking news almost 40 years after he and Carl Bernstein uncovered the Watergate scandal, Woodward predicts that "the information business will continue to exist…. How [the news] is delivered, who delivers it, what you pay for it — those are questions no one has figured out."

Perhaps not — but we can make some educated guesses. In a speech on September 8, the publisher of The New York Times conceded that the print version of the paper will cease to exist one day. Most insiders tacitly accept this, but the candor of his remark raised eyebrows.

Even the most print-besotted among us, it appears, must embrace the digital future. Let's hope there will be enough resources, and sufficient will, for online news organizations of the next generation to cover any future Watergates.


Evelyn Renold, a writer and editorial consultant in New York
, worked as a staff editor at Newsday and The New York Daily News.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

AARP Bookstore

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Live Nation

Members save 25% or more when buying tickets in groups of four from Ticketmaster.

Cirque Du Soleil

Members save 15-30% on tickets to live Cirque du Soleil shows with their AARP membership card.

Pepperoni Pizza, Papa Johns Superbowl promotion for AARP members

Members save 25% off regular menu price orders at Papa John's.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.