July 4, 2009

The week without newspapers?

The plan was for a week without newspapers - from Saturday July 4 to Friday July 10, 2009, - to draw "attention to the threat posed to democracy by the loss of professionally staffed and ethically bound American newspapers. "

TJ Sullivan explained why on Feb. 6 he decided to seek he support to ask "the owners and operators of each and every daily American newspaper and The Associated Press asked to shut down their Web sites to non-paying subscribers for a period of one week.

There's a list of 51 other places that talked about the effort.

One virtual petiton gathered 431 signatures and TJ Sullivan explained in another blog post why journalists were not backing the effort.

But even those who understood the signifiance of showing the effect of newspapers on democracy were not sure withholding the news from non-paying customers on the web would work. Listen to Kevin Ulrich on the Pasadena Weekly site:
"What I don’t know is if this is the right time to make a potentially self-wounding statement by shutting down Web sites — no matter how true, important and necessary that statement may be."
In the end, even "Know Newspapers - Official site of the petition to unplug" is empty. The YouTube video is gone, the Know Newspaper blog is black, blank.The Twitter account empty. A short message awaits some.

So, please, go fire your firecracks, light your sparklers, enjoy your Fourth. Perhaps, later there will be time to think about ways to ensure every community will get news with more meaning then which star died this week.


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