Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Podunkian Brunch July 11, 2010

Our efforts this weekend look at change, from the closure of a Prince Rupert institution in the Daily News, to a sports star shifting the balance of power in basketball and Canada's constitutional monarchy finding change at the top, those among a few other tidbits make up our focus on this edition of the brunch.

It's been a week since word first leaked out that the Daily News had been sold and less than a week that we found out that with that sale the paper will close, bringing to an end a 99 year old tradition of the printed word delivered on a daily basis.

And while a shock for many in the community, the fate of the newspaper business these days has never been more precarious, for the brunch we've found some interesting background pieces to review on the state of journalism these days, though for any readers that may be fearful of this contraption called the internet, be forewarned that some of our items come from the blogosphere a place where some suggest we should not tread for fear of misinformation.

Boldly marching forward however, we found this interesting bit of backround information from the Canadian Newspaper Association, titled the Evolution of Newspapers, followed up by the findings of the Davey and Kent commissions, held ten years apart the latter appearing in the 1980's that seemed to even back then herald dark days ahead for the traditional press.  Of particular interest and of consequence to the events of this week is the Chronology at the end of the report findings, which lists the state of journalism from 1970 through to 1999, we imagine they might need a few more pages to catch up with the last ten years.

More recently the took some time to examine the state of Canada's newspapers, a rather helpful bit of observation from May of this year which outlines the changing nature of the news industry and the financial problems that the traditional ways have met.

To the south of Canada, two years ago Time Magaine looked to the future and offered up this list of the 10 most endangered newspapers in America, for those looking for some signs of a sliver lining, for the most part the ten listed are still in operation though struggling in troublesome times.

That's not to say that the newspaper ghouls haven't been busy, the Newspaper Death Watch chronicles those that have gone to the beyond, while Reflections of a Newsosaur and Journalism offer up  some more reviews of the departed.

It's an industry in change and one in which we imagine the survivors will face many financial troubles and concerns in the years to come.

Someone not quite so worried about the future we imagine is LeBron James, the NBA superstar who dominated the sports and even the news media in most of North America this week with his highly anticipated announcement as to where he prefers to bounce a basketball this season.

With his own prime time announcement show airing on ESPN in America, the hype over where LeBron  would call home got just a little over the top this past week, as each step the man took was interpreted as leading to New York, Chicago, Miami or no further than his own backyard in Clevelend.

In the end all the drama  and all roads led to Miami, where the Miami heat suddenly became the Killers row of professional sport what with LeBron joining up with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, which most famously was pointed out this week gives Miami one quarter of the American Dream Team of Olympic basketball past.

You couldn't help but have an image of Jerry MaGuire in your mind this week, yelling into the phone Show me the money, even if LeBron suggests he left money on the table so as to join a winner, something that probably left the folks back home in Cleveland feeling colder than a January wind storm off the lake.

While they were celebrating on the sandy (not yet oily beaches of Florida) not to mention in the streets and the clubs, the feeling back in Cleveland wasn't quite as celebratory.

Fans took burning his jersey in the streets and sports bars hopeful of a night of festive drinking and camaraderie instead found their crowd heading home early to console themselves, the thought of a future without the hometown hero just a bit too much to bear.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer summed things up with perhaps one of the best pictorial displays in recent journalism, a simple picture of James with his back on the front page and the term Gone!, for good measure the Plain Dealer did point out in small type that he left with no championships, a reminder that his work was left undone before he made his bid for greater fame elsewhere.

And while the impression  of the fans of the city by the lake was one of anger, it was a sentiment which you kind of understand.

Yet they had company it seems in their frustrations. In New York the press was equally quick to offer up their rebukes to the sideshow that became LeBron's decision day, offering up a string of stories  such as this one, this one and this one, that didn't leave the star in a particularly good light.  A harsh reminder that if you dare to spurn New York, you seemingly must suffer its wrath, or perhaps just an annoyance that LeBron was lured away by former Knicks coach Mike Riley, who apparently still has special place of honour of the dirt list of New York's famous sports fraternity. Providing no shortage of irony considering how many times New York based sports teams have pillaged the rosters of other teams to load up on the stars.

In the end it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that loyalty gave way to cash and winning, in an era of sports where winning is the only thing, those with the money will spend to attract those that want it and silly concepts as rewarding the loyal fans or helping to build a winner give way to who can win that championship fast.

You have to hope that in 2010 the basketball deities offer up a Cavaliers championship, doubtful considering the now tattered blue print for that team, but for its fans it would at least be a sign that sometimes the less than glamourous towns have a shot against the changing nature of sport.

BP is back in the news, with yet another attempt to clog up that hole of spewing oil that has laid waste to much of the ecological balance of the gulf coast and left thousands of residents unemployed.  The plan is to  install a new tighter cap on the problem area, hopefully bringing the containment of the well in place within days.

If that fails, there's no shortage of advice as to what to do next, the most fascinating while at the same time horrifying suggestion being the use of a nuclear explosion to seal up the well once and for all, considering the frequent disasters that seem to stalk the Gulf coast and that BP seems to be taking its moves from the playbook of Homer Simpson, whatever could go wrong with a pre-emptive nuclear blast eh?

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth brought to an end her latest visit to the distant territory of her realm this week, the final day spent in a sultry, steamy hot Toronto, where as a parting surprise for the Monarch the power went out, providing some cozy candle light for her farewell dinner hosted by the Prime Minister.

After her departure from Toronto, she was off for a whistle stop at the UN to recount her time on the throne for the world's statesmen and then it was back to Buckingham Palace to tend to the corgis.

 While she was heading out, her Royal stand in at Government House in Ottawa, Governor General Michaelle Jean was making her own plans to move out, to rather glowing reviews.  A new adventure soon to begin as special envoy to Haiti with UNESCO.

The Prime Minister providing the news that her replacement will be academic David Johnston, who apparently needs a bit of work on the soon to be Royal biography, at least judging by the commentaries accumulated by the Toronto Star.

 For our weekly podcast this week we invited you take in the efforts of the folks at HowStuffWorks, who  keep us all up to date on the stuff we need to know with their Coolest stuff on the planet podcast

For our musical selection to take us out of the Brunch this week, we return to our theme of the newspaper industry in the days after the announcement that our local news scene is about to change once again. To bid farewell for this version of the brunch we turn to Joe Jackson, who invites us to read the Sunday papers.


Anonymous said...

'lebron suggests he left money on the table so as to join a winner" ??
..joining a team in the state with the lowest tax rate saved lebron 20 million..may have taken a little sting out of his sacrifice

. said...

Well I imagine LeBron figures that most residents of Ohio probably aren't aware of the tax code references in each state, (plus they'll be too busy burning their LeBron memorabilia for the next little while)) but yes I understand your point.

LeBron isn't heading off to the Sally Ann for his next grocery expedition that's for sure.