The Death of the Newspaper

I am a great admirer of the political purpose and effort contained within the work of Robert Rodriguez and Patrisia Gonzales, authors of the Column of the Americas.   While I may disagree with their interpretations and analysis at times, and while we come at knowledge from differing frameworks and so, often, might disagree on “fact” and “history,” they are true crusaders in the fight for knowledge and understanding.  In more than a few ways, they were blogging before there were blogs, heck, even before there was a “real” internet!

That said, Rodriguez’ wrote a guest opinion piece in this month’s Arizona Daily Star on the decline (or not) of journalism. It’s a topic very near and dear to my heart, as it is to many academics.  I have only this to offer:

The death of professional journalism in this country is coming with the death of the newspaper as a medium.  Yes, that is only a change in medium, but this change is complicated by the fact that the other media (TV, and to some extent radio) had largely moved to a model of journalism which fed off of print media.  They had become parasites, if you will, reflected in the movement to hire people who majored in “Communications” and who looked good on TV more than people who studied journalism.

This death is real, and it is troubling.  Something will replace it, sure, but when a parasite is this huge, it is bound to feed off of whatever it can to stay alive, whether or not that something if the best thing for it.  The new big boy on the block is not dedicated to real journalism, it’s dedicated to bullshit and rumor.

This is a moment of redefinition and realignment.  What that means we do not yet know.

The “Border Beat” (May 16, 2008)

Today’s offerings feature a veritable buffet of selections from the world’s presses!

  • Reporter rips McCain a new culo and it feels muuuuuuuuy bueno (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
  • Feinstein tries to derail the efforts of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus as she does the bidding of her masters in agriculture (San Francisco Chronicle)
  • North Carolina bans illegal immigrants from going to Community College (Guardian-UK)
  • Tensions within African American and Latino Los Angeles are reaching a new high over Special Order 40 (New York Times)
  • The truth about Special Order 40 (Los Angeles Times)

The issues brewing in the final two articles are significant, troubling, and a long time coming. While most of the heat is being directed at Special Order 40–a policy within the LAPD that forbids officers from asking a person about their legal status if they are not being investigated for a crime–the issues are really bigger and broader than that.

African Americans and Latinos occupy some of the same space within Los Angeles, both right now and historically. African American “ghettos” were, generally, poorer neighborhoods in which whites chose not to live (and due to historic forms of segregation in housing restrictions, chose for African Americans to live). As waves of Latino migrants have made Los Angeles their home, they moved into many of the same neighborhoods, both a reflection of their affordability and the continued policies and practices of racial residential restrictions in the city.

Cohabitation need not breed any animosity, but that shared space has not always come with a sense of mutual community. Decades of differing political and social histories–including the ways in which each group was integrated in the economy and politics–framed more difference than commonality. Gangs, violence, poverty, and racism, have wrought more.

This is the current status of many of our working class, diverse communities of color in the United States. Unfortunately, it may get worse before it gets better.

The “Border Beat” (May 14, 2008)

As part of my continuing quest to find the most pressing (or sometimes just interesting) news on Latinos in the world, LatinoLikeMe provides you this second “Border Beat,” just some of the headlines drawing my attention (and I hope yours).

NOTE: The “Border Beat” will appear every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from here on, except when I’m away from the digital world (which is never often enough).