We may be missed

According to the latest Arwady memo, our fate remains in the hands of the teamsters. While not explicitly stated in the Sept. 23, 2008 “Update on Progress,” that appears to be the only hang up to continued life for The Star-Ledger with Newhouse newspapers.

The mailers have a new contract and, Arwady says in the memo, “we expect that our goals for the voluntary buyouts will be met.”

All that remains are the drivers.

But should the conditions fail to be met, it is nice to know that some will miss us. I ran across a few Ledger lovers commenting at a Google-group devoted to the music of New Jersey bard, Bruce Springsteen. The comments came after a summary by EStreetJoe of the woes we have come to know so well.

St alphonso, had the most succinct response: “Damn.  First Heath, then this………”

Think how we feel, Phonso. You are a fan, we are Heath.

“If that happens, what will Tony Soprano do at the bottom of his
driveway every morning?” Matt o asked in another comment. Unless there is a reunion show, we will never know, but we share his concern.

Patrick1 offers what may be the highest compliment: “…the Star Ledger IS New Jersey, it’s not only the largest but also the best” newspaper in the state.

The internet seems to bring few compliments for The Ledger — or any newspaper. Many web sites carrying posts regarding the ongoing saga at The Star-Ledger are full to over-flowing with rips on the supposed liberal bent of our paper or most every newspaper. Many bloggers seem overjoyed at the imminent demise of the printed members of MSM (mainstream media). Their bile runneth over as they insist our publication would have fared much better had we toed a more conservative line, ignoring the financial woes also touching such right-wing bastions as The Wall Street Journal and Washington Times.

We can find some of those more typical responses at Dinosaur Media Deathwatch, where observations such as the following, by Joe Boucher, are more common: “That’s it, take charge, be a leader and show the way for so many other bad biased newspapers to go out of business. Good-bye Star Ledger of Newark, now all you folks who’ve been spreading lies can go get real jobs.”

But likeavision, commenting at the Springsteen site, captures best the fears facing us all because what is happening isn’t just a local issue, nor one focused exclusively on newspapers (biased or otherwise).

Guys this is serious shit.  It’s happening up here in Maine with the
Portland Press Herald. And in thousand of small towns in America
across a myriad of business sectors.

The fact is that for all the good the internet hath wrought, it has
also created an amazing amount of chaos and displacement. Small
business (from bookstores, to record stores, to brokerage firms to
publishers, to hardware stores to furniture stores etc) has been
decimated by the internet far more-so and far more quickly by the
internet than mass consolidation.

Maybe what is great for the consumer is not so great in the end.
Because businesses die, people lose jobs, hometowns give way to
nationalism and globalism in ways that are not healthy or productive.
I dont have the answer but I have to say for the average Joe the
impact of technology and globalism must suck. And in turn maybe it
sucks for us all because we are stuck in the end with USA TODAY,
STARBUCKS, BEST BUY, WALMART and all the rest.

So for most of us Americans, we make less money, have less choices,
and have less pride and investment in what we stand for as individuals
and communities.

I mean there is no doubt that much of this is unstoppable in that
people’s behavior dictate the course of business and culture. But when
will we wake up and discover what we are losing or what has already
been lost?

The Star-Ledger, love it or hate it, will soon be gone in whole or in part. You can’t lose 200+ people and stay the same. When will we wake up and discover what is lost here and in towns across this country where newspapers will shrink dramatically or shut-down entirely? Not until well after it is done.

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