Today was the last day of publication for the Seattle Post Intelligencer. Not the first, and unfortunately probably not the last newspaper to cease publication, the Seattle P.I. will exist solely online from now on, another casualty of the internet: losing ad space to the internet, losing readers to the internet and now turning to the internet to live on in another form.
In writing its own obituary, the P.I. notes,
'A number of staff who worked at the P-I went on to national renown: E.B. White, beloved novelist and essayist, who once recalled he was an editor's nightmare, given his inclination for "rising above facts." Novelist Tom Robbins, who sometimes wore a gorilla suit or Mad magazine secret agent mouse mask at his desk, because he could, and who, upon hearing the news about the P-I, likened it to the loss of The Beatles. Frank Herbert, who went on from the P-I to pen "Dune." Timothy Egan, author and columnist for The New York Times.'
I fear that blogs and websites will not produce writers of that ilk. Internet writing tends to recycle the information that real reporters uncover in the first place. And also, for those of us old school types, drinking the first cup of coffee in the morning while staring at a monitor just doesn't have the same feeling as toddling out the driveway and bringing in the paper to read with coffee. Plus toast crumbs wreak havoc on keyboards. I know this because last week every time I typed the letter J, JU appeared on the screen. It was not some strange virus, it was jam sticking the J key and the adjacent U key together.