Tuesday, May 3

Journalistic Sink, USA

Buffalo, NY, like many American cities, has seen its journalistic offerings greatly diminished over the past fifty years. Whereas most cities could once boast of a healthy competition between several major, locally-funded and locally-focused newspapers, now the phenomenon of the one-newspaper town has taken on the allure of "normalcy." Ideas are being hoarded in the bigger and tighter grasps of the few. At at time of living memory, Buffalo had, among others, four Polish-language newspapers that rivaled one another for scoops and insights on local and national politics. Today, the market is dominated by the overbloated, smug, info-taining, chock-full-of-advertisement and syndicated rehash called "The Buffalo News." The mere sight of the newspaper makes me cringe in horror.
Curiously, as the success of the Jon Stewart show seems to suggest, the best source of news and political commentary in today's severely news-impoverished America appears often to come in the form of parody. (I have only ever seen a single clip from Stewart's show, so my claim only echoes that of many others, and I leave it open for debate.) One other, notable example to this tendancy would be "The Beast." This is one of perhaps two freely-distributed newspapers in town that not only follows local politics assiduously, but also features editors and contributors who let fly their opinions without at first submitting them to corporate censorship -- the other is called Artvoice. As an example of the quality of the writing that appears in The Beast, I recommend this article, a funny and insightful demolishing of the latest heap of blather published in book form by the much-heralded New York Times editorial writer and all-around arrogant fool named Thomas Friedman.

Would anyone kindly share links to newspapers, parodic or not, that fight against the tide of one-newspaper dominance and corporate insipidness in their town or city?