I can't really figure out why we are supposed to be saddened by the decline and deaths of local newspapers. These papers are terrible and I think their disappearance is going to have every little overall impact. Whatever small contribution they make could be done much better online. This is not necessarily the case with the major newspapers also in crisis at the moment. The disappearance of these papers will have a very real, even drastic impact on our political life. But even in this case, much can be done by the new media. Small papers like the Virginian-Pilot that once were decent little papers with a purpose are now nothing more than a waste of paper and ink. Most of these papers have been owned by huge media corporations which have eliminated any distinctiveness or independence (the Courier-Journal comes to mind). They have been "local" only in the vaguest sense for years, even decades, and are instead just AP stories embedded in large furniture store and hearing aid ads. The Op-Eds are usually syndicated pieces, often ones that appeared several days earlier in the NYTimes or the Washington Post. The local columnists are reason enough not to read the paper given their aggressive stupidity. Even the feature fillers are grabbed off the wires, so here we regularly read wire stories in the 'Daily Break' section about new trends in Dallas in articles that aren't even minimally rebadged for the local market.

That all said, I do get the Pilot delivered to my house, if only to read about the local crimes of regular appalling violence that are the hallmark of "the 757". I like to read the paper over breakfast, and have no option to get the Times delivered in this area so I am stuck with the Pilot. But almost everyday I wonder why I am wasting my money.

Though I was surprised to learn today that Virginia Beach has 2,321 licensed vehicles.


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