Folding up shop.

Wednesday, May 17th, 2000

My wife, as usual, made the cogent comment: “if a newspaper sells enough advertising, it doesn’t matter how good or bad it is, right?”Right. Exactly. Because after all, the first amendment has always uncomfortably shared a bed with the capitalist ethic in this country. You raise money to publish, or you perish. There are a couple of other newspapers in town, one weekly, one daily that stay fat and happy because of the success of large advertising staffs. Congratulations to them. But do their ad-filled pages mean that the people of Atlanta seek them out for the best that journalism can be?
Before you answer that, sit back a second and consider a few other questions. Is Atlanta a place like Austin, Seattle, or Boston, where weekly papers can thrive with a mix of controversy and commerce? Do we live in a place where we clamor for more sources of information? Or are we complacent enough to passively take whatever is placed in front of our eyes and ears?
When a paper folds, when a bookstore closes, when an eclectically-programmed radio station goes off the air, we all lose.
This week you lose more than a home for the chronicles of the growth of Hollis’s baby and the deterioration of Chris’s liver. You lose a place to hear voices—yours, your neighbors, ours, those of people you disagree with. It’s up to you to fill the gap with something more than Friends reruns and Lottery Coverage You Can Count On.
Read—or write—a book. Talk back to your newspaper. Grab a camera and put your own ideas on videotape.
I’m listening.