Unfortunately for newspapers, the grumpy, grudging attitude I heard rumbling above my head ten years ago hasn’t really changed. There’s more fear now, more dread, more tired arguments about editorial authority born of baggage no one but newspaper people carry or care about. But there are few in the news business with passion, excitement and a true understanding of what it could mean to help a community be its own media, hold up its own mirror and gather around a fire it helps to build.
I used to be angry at the newspaper business for frittering away its birthright, its opportunity, its obligation. Now I just feel sad about the waste. Local papers could have provided free municipal WiFi, offered downtown offices where citizens could have told their own stories, recycled computers to local drop-in centres and used Flickr groups to gather hundreds of photos of local events.
Very sad indeed.