Keep Them Rolling

by Roger Pynn

CBS “Sunday Morning’s” segment “Stop the Presses!” reminded me how important it is that we keep talking about the value of news … the kind old folks like me know comes from the heritage of daily newspapers.

It was another great piece on the looming threat of a world without newspapers.

And it revealed once again what appears to be a dominant thought among folks in the news world that the most important role of journalists is to uncover the wrongdoings of scoundrels … saying “And it was the newspaper whose proudest moments came when it held the powerful to account – even bringing down “All The President’s Men.”

I don’t argue the importance of the watchdog role. And, no, I’m not a Pollyanna who sees the world through rose-colored glasses and thinks there are no Bernie Maddoffs lurking around the country club, no Haldeman’s in the halls thinking up ways to “get away with it.”

But I worry most about a world where we won’t see stories like the Orlando Sentinel’s poignant piece on the beautiful life of Ed Soistman, a man I’ve admired since my college years.

Not that they won’t be “published” at online newspaper sites as this one was. But you’d have had to scroll through three levels of “local news” headlines. The one that said “He forsook corporate life to minister to the needy” would take you to the story and photo illustration that by contrast in print commanded attention as you opened the local news section … Ed’s engaging smile drawing you to the story.

Will we ever turn pages that way?

Somewhere in a garage … likely in San Jose’s Silicon Valley … there’s a techrepreneur working on a solution that would give us a delivery system or device that one day makes the digital newspaper a decent replacement.

Let’s just hope the folks who “program” the daily paper of the future remember it is about so much more that makes our daily lives newsworthy.

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