Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Podunkian Brunch, Sunday, July 18, 2010

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'.
For the loser now Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'.

We open up the brunch with a thought or two from Bob Dylan, changing times arrived on the North coast this week, with the closure of the 99 year institution the Daily News,  an event well chronicled during the week through the pages of the final week of publication.

The end of an era in newspapers is not an uncommon thing these days, across North America many communities both large and small have seen a familiar bit of parchment vanish from their door steps.

It's a topic that has been covered by any number of forums, the subject of  television reports and discussion panels, and even bloggers of all people.  Indeed the industry that had shaped the world of the last century as presented by Orson Welles in Citizen Kane has certainly struggled through the turn into this one,

And while it seems dark at times for the newspaper business, there are still those that see a future for the printed word in its present form, time we imagine will prove to be the testimony if that is the way of the future or just whistling past a graveyard of print.

The print medium isn't the only communications form undergoing change these days, television it seems is facing its own changing of the guard, this was the week that CTV announced that Canada's most recognized anchorman was making the slow march off the set, with word that Lloyd Robertson will step down next year, to be replaced by Lisa LaFlamme.  Over at Global, a rather less pensioned Kevin Newman will also be taking his leave of his nightly anchor duties, leaving Global National in August to be replaced by Dawna Freisen, who returns to Canada from her years at NBC.

The changing faces and direction of national newscasts come as the all news networks and their non stop news cycle continue to chip away at the traditional dedicated half hour of news per night. Even more worrisome for networks now is the simple fact that in a growing number of cases, viewers are finding that this guy and this guy are just as adept at providing them with the details of the day and with it an ability to put forward the case to ask questions of the daily spin cycle of news and political theatre.

It all makes for an interesting shift in how and where we get our news and what we have come to expect upon its delivery.

Change also came to Apple this week,  the normally tightly scripted releases and then slavish devotion to the latest technology giving way to some serious damage control over the latest of the must have gadgets the iPone IV. In a press conference held Friday, Steve Jobs spent ninety minutes rejecting the notion of design flaws, suggesting that the current controversy affects all players in the smartphone industry, rattling off a list of names of those competitors that he says are in the same boat as Apple. Though they might like to point out that it wasn't their brand that held the spotlight of complaint this past week. To appease those devotees that perhaps were feeling a bit let down, Jobs offered up free phone cases that apparently shall address those reception complaints and maybe take away some of the glare of those spotlights of late. Rather amused at the unusual sight of Mr. Jobs doing something that we have become used to from other product providers, the Globe and Mail provided us with this theatric interpretation of how they thought that Apple would handle the crisis.
On the topic of cutting edge technology, word this week that Bono has gone bionic, the front man for U2 has apparently been rebuilt with German engineering,  during surgery to repair his back which had caused the singer to suffer temporary partial paralysis earlier this year. That scary bit of medical concern for the singer resulted in the band having to cancel a good portion of its 2010 tour including the lucrative North American jaunts where U2 always find welcome audiences and healthy box office receipts. With his new parts in place he and the band are making plans to tackle the tour circuit once again, with new North American dates currently getting finalized, while we would never presume to pick a U2 set list, surely this should be the opening song for the next stage of the tour.

As we recounted earlier this week on the blog, the game of baseball shifted eras with the passing of George Steinbrenner, a larger than life force in the game, sometimes for the good and as Scott Stinson of the National Post reminds us sometimes for the bad.

And if you're looking for signs that indeed the these times are changing look no further than this one, JR Ewing, legendary oil man of the days of television's Dallas has gone green.  Larry Hagman has donned the ten gallon hat to sell the merits of a German company's eco friendly solar panels.  You can almost hear the seismic shift from Southfork.

For our podcast selection of the week we turn to NPR, which has provided a series on how newspapers have begun to use the internet and in particular podcasting to get their daily message out and enhance the product from the printed page. The item provides a number of links to a variety of examples of the use of changing technology to help keep the old technology relevant.

And for our musical selection this week a trio of folk artists, a group who are always the best storytellers, weaving for us tales of newspapers, journalists and times that are a changing.
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