Do newspapers deserve to live?
Not at the rate they're going. Here's nationally syndicated columnist James Lileks, a sharp and witty writer with an audience that seeks him out, explaining that his bosses at the newly commoditized Minneapolis Star Tribune are killing his column and moving him to a local straight news beat. In other words, rather than trumpeting its unique voices, the paper is stamping them out. It's being bland on purpose.
This is so ridiculous that it feels like it might be one of those hoaxes perpretrated to get people like me all riled up, only to end up with egg on our faces because we didn't bother to check it out before we started commenting about it. If that's the case, congratulations to the joker who pulled it off. Unfortunately, the news business has reached the point where, as blatantly stupid, short-sighted and mean-spirited as this move is, it's entirely believable.