The Novelist

“I’ve always said I’d like to be known as the novelist or the playwright who also did television news. I’m very proud of what I’ve done. But let’s face it: What I’m doing now is more creative. And people don’t know anything about it.”

– Jim Lehrer, playwright, author of 21 novels
… oh, and he did something or other in the news biz for over fifty years

In an earlier interview (2009), Lehrer said, “I’ve always felt it was a little bit bragging to say you’re a writer, to say ‘I’m a novelist.’ I’m still trying to be a novelist, and it doesn’t get any easier.”

Jim Lehrer

On a related note:

Lehrer discussed his most recent novel, Top Down: A Novel of the Kennedy Assassination, on “The Diane Rehm Show” on Monday. His novel sounds compelling, but the most fascinating parts of the interview centered on Lehrer’s  observations on the impact of the assassination on American media. Lehrer covered the assassination as a reporter for the Dallas Times-Herald.

(The novel’s title is a reference to the decision to lower the “bubble top” on the limousine carrying JFK through Dallas. Lehrer explains the implications of this in his interview with Rehm. For more info, you can read the transcript here, or listen to the interview on the show’s website.)

The first quote is from the NYT article “An anchor tells stories on stage, but off camera,” Sept. 11, 2013
The second quote is from the USA Today article, “Novelist Jim Lehrer is still swinging for the fences,” March 23, 2009.

Links for the Print Media Discussion

The discussion of the print media decline predates this blog, and will continue when I move on to other thoughts, but, for now, articles related to the condition of newspapers seem to be coming out of the woodwork and catching my eye.

Links:

An interesting thing to note– and an inalienable characteristic of a blog– these are, of course, links to the electronic articles, even those that were originally run in print. (Did I use inalienable correctly?)

Any articles to add? Am I neglecting an important angle?

Or…

Think I’ve gotten hung up on this topic? Ready to move on?? Let me know if you’ve got preferences for future posts…

More on the future of newspapers

Yep, as the title suggests, the future of newspapers can be summed up into one or two little blog posts. Kidding, but here are some more thoughts on the subject. (The first post on this topic can be found here.)

Digital media is here.

It is neither as drastic as some predicted nor as mild as others would have had us believe. But, it’s here. I’ll always have a special place in my heart for the thin, smudgy pages of a newspaper. But, to be honest, if it were in my kitchen drawer, it’d be a single-function item. I’m glad it’s there when I need it, but if something else could do its job and take up less space… well, that’d be something to think about.

Quick: name these kitchen utensils

On the one hand, a newspaper subscription is, generally, cheaper than my Internet bill. But, on the other hand, the Internet is a multi-function item– and on top of that, it gives me access to countless news stories. I know the big deal is the ad sales, but, the ad sales are a big deal only because of us– the consumers buying the newspapers. And, in my household budget, the Internet bill is an assumed expense. The newspaper expense is negotiable.

(On a sidenote: We receive a free community newspaper that I absolutely love! I’ll admit that, because it’s free, I hold it to a less rigorous standard. There might be posts on the place of the small-scale community newspaper yet to come.)

I’m optimistic about the place of print in the Internet, blog-saturated world, and I agree with Carr about the impact of the revision process on a print story. I also tend to ascribe a sense of veracity and endurance to tangible pieces of information (a cookbook vs. a recipe from a website– but, admittedly, both have led me astray, and both have led me right).

Basically, I see it’s place; I see it’s flaws; I like knowing it’s around.

Print Media Check-up and the Digital Boogeyman

Noticed an interesting article about the condition of print media in the growing digital world.

A Vanishing Journalistic Divide, by David Carr

Carr’s piece is a predictable, but encouraging, check-up for print media: Walk more, eat less bacon, come back next year.

The latest surveys of the print media landscape have ceased to revolve around doomsday proclamations or rambling odes from devoted clingers-on. The wait-and-see climate of what would happen when newspapers posted stories on websites, complete with links and embedded videos, is past.

We are no longer discussing the height of the boogeyman beneath our beds.

(Although the transition is not quite as past-tense as I sometimes think: USA Today circulated a memo last week announcing they were cutting 35 print-related jobs in favor of creating new digital jobs.)

Digital media is here.