“Final edition: Twilight of the American newspaper,” By Richard Rodriguez, in the November issue of Harper’s Magazine. This article is a beautiful explanation of the role that newspapers have had in defining and uniting cities. In this case it’s mostly about San Francisco, but it’s also about newspapers in general, their fate, and what it means. I read it on the plane from Minneapolis to the San Francisco Bay Area, where I am vacationing in the house where I grew up. We subscribed to the Chronicle when I was a kid, so I know exactly what Rodriguez is talking about. (I even had a paper route.) Rodriguez quotes Gavin Newsome, the mayor of San Francisco, about newspapers, saying that if SF lost its daily newspapers, “No one under 30 would notice.” I think that’s true. Gavin was in my graduating class at Redwood High School. What Rodriguez shows is the connection that daily newspapers have, or have had, to everything else. I recommend this piece for some holiday reading (preferably in print).
December 23, 2009