howard kurtz will not be taking the wapo buyout

which is a very good thing. somewhat because he enunciates whats happening in the newspaper business today way better than lots of people. and shows the outsiders that whats happening at papers like the LAT is almost exactly whats happening everywhere else. one part exciting, two parts terrifying. and a hundred parts sad.

Let’s not bury the lead: This is a rough time for the newspaper business, a rough time for The Washington Post and a rough time for me.

No one need shed any tears for the people leaving this building. The more than 100 journalists who have just taken early-retirement packages are voluntarily accepting a generous offer as the company trims its payroll — a situation far better than at newspapers that have resorted to layoffs.

But it is painful to watch from the inside. The talented reporters, editors and photographers walking out the door are part of the heart and soul of a living, breathing organism. How do you replace a Tom Ricks, one of the best Pentagon reporters ever? Or a Sue Schmidt, the investigative reporter who revealed Jack Abramoff’s dirty dealings? Or Robin Wright, who’s covered the Middle East for a quarter-century? What about battle-scarred editors with deep knowledge and a light touch?

I know, I know. The future is digital. The Web is a cornucopia of fast-moving video and blogs and bulletins and gossip, while newspapers are old, slow and less than hip. That’s why The Post (and every other paper on the planet) is beefing up its online presence and why I write a daily blog for the Web site.

But — and stop me if you’ve heard this one — newspapers matter. There isn’t a Web site around that can produce the probing work, such as the exposé of shoddy conditions at the Army’s Walter Reed Medical Center, that won The Post six Pulitzer Prizes this year. The economics of the Web, for now, won’t support a staff that can hold public officials accountable across the region and still cover every Nationals game. So I cling to an old-fashioned, almost mystical belief in the power of ink on paper.

its nice to know that im not alone in being hopelessly idealistic.

jumping ahead to the end of his piece, kurtz says:

In one sense, the Web is a blessing. Daily circulation for the newsprint Post, now 673,000, may be down from 813,000 in 2000, but we are drawing an eye-opening 9.4 million unique visitors online each month, 85 percent of them from outside the D.C. circulation area. Those readers don’t bring in the cash that print subscribers do — given the gotta-be-free mentality of the Web — but they do expand our reach.

The ticking time bomb here is the wholesale abandonment of newspapers by younger people who grew up with a point-and-click mentality. When I was speaking at Harvard recently, a smug graduate student said, “I get everything I need from YouTube. What are you going to do about it?”

“What are you going to do about it?” I shot back. If people want to tune out the news, no one can compel them to change their habits. We can be smarter, faster and jazzier in providing information, but we can’t force-feed the stuff. If newspapers wither and die, it will be in part because the next generation blew us off in favor of Xbox and Wii and full-length movies on their iPods. Network news faces the same erosion. Maybe, in the end, we get the media we deserve.

The Post has proven to be an awfully resilient place over the years. And if we have to do more with less, well, welcome to the global economy. After pondering the offer, I decided: I’ll badly miss the people who are leaving, but I’m staying put.

in lots of ways what i have seen in my first six months at the LAT is a lot like what i saw in my last six months at the dot com when the web imploded. many goodbyes. many mixed feelings from those who left and those who stayed. thats why im grateful to read kurtz explain what his feelings are in regards to his paper on the other coast. its a far more complicated situation than it might appear. and its so very interesting that writers are at the center of it, because who better to report on it.

if these things interest you, you should read his whole piece/column/post whatever they call it these days.

photos by afagen via flickr

exclusive interview with sass

tony says: hola canadian girl
sass says: Holla

tony says: state your name and province please
sass says: Sass, Ontario

tony says: i like your blog. its funny, it’s fun
sass says: I like your blog. It’s great. and good. grood.

tony says: but i have one question, why do you get rid of the faces of your girls?
sass says: Raymi asked me the same thing the other day. It’s because it’s my choice to put all my bidness up on the public interweb, not my friends’. so it’s just safer to leave them unrecognizable unless they have a blog too and plaster their faces on a public domain in their own accord.

tony says: did all of them request such privacy?
sass says: Nope, but some have. Now it’s just a keeping it consistent thing. Cuz I’ll take pics and my friends will be like “Ooooh are you going to black out my face on your blog?”

tony says: and theyre ok with that? i thought the girls in canada were damn near all cam-loving bicurious exhibitionists
sass says: Totes. But they can do that on their own facebook profiles. I don’t want the responsibility of exhibiting them.

tony says: why didnt you party with raymi, christie, and that crew when i was up there for new years?
sass says: Cuz I didn’t jump on the blogging bandwagon til March. And I’m not friends with Raymi. Yet. But hollatchagirl the next time you’re here

tony says: and yet i understand that you blogspotted her the other day but didnt say hi? true?
sass says: Uh no. I was “slumming it” at this wing and rib place in our mutual hood and she was walking on the streetskies with Fil, and she waved. and I waved back and I had the urge to jump out the window and get all crazy on her (not really) but I decided that would be stupid. and also she was already gone before the end of that thought process.

tony says: youre not a hockey player, youre not in Rush, and you werentblogging, so what on earth were you doing in Canada before March?

sass says: I can’t remember. Nothing’s real until it’s on a blog anyway.
sass says: That’s a lie.
sass says: Crying and bitching all the time about my heinous, awful ex-boyfriend to everyone and anyone. Now I just do it on wordpress.

tony says: arent you still in college?
sass says: No. I’m a child prodigy.

tony says: ok so when did you start reading blogs?
sass says: Erm. 2004?? I had a xanga page then.
tony says: oh my
sass says: Yea I kept it up until 2006. Then I started having real boyfriends and broke up with xanaga. Now I’m completely babeless spend my energy on a blog instead.

tony says: and you never went to college?
sass says: Oh no, I did. From 2002 – 2007. Wait. I totally got my xanga dates wrong then. Hold on let me check when my first post was
tony says: holding…
sass says: June 10th 2002
sass says: My first ever blog post
sass says: It’s 2:15 am in Toronto. I’ve lost my fucking mind.
sass says: So ok, I’m been blogging since 2002. I have a good memory though. I swear.

tony says: so you graduated two years ago
tony says: what have you done since then?
sass says: Well I stopped taking any course December 06. But I didn’t convocate til June, so all my graduation day photos would be with my friends.
tony says: such a girl decision
sass says: I worked at Club Monaco. But they had rats and my gay boyfriend quit. So a few days later so did I. Then he got a job where I work now and 2 weeks later I started working there too. Then that week I started dating my ex who’s known as “The
Fifth” on my blog. My life pathetically revolved around him. And now I’m less pathetic. Because I have a blog.

tony says: you live in the Annex, if i remember correctly, true?
sass says: Hells yea. That’s where Raymi lives too.
tony says: raymi talks hella shit about the annex
tony says: but denies living there
sass says: I love the annex.
tony says: why does raymi talk shit? i think she says its yuppie?
sass says: Well I hear her address is 123 Penis Lane, Sandusky, Ohio, which isn’t in the Annex at all.
tony says: ahahahahaha
sass says: I don’t know why she talks shit. I think it’s all the fucktards in her building. I think the Annex is the happiest place in the world. For me at least.
sass says: Because I’ve never existed elswhere in Toronto except for the Annex/U of T bubble.

tony says: ok so that place is populated with young people, youre in the biggest city in Canaduh, so why are you obsessed with exes and pretending that you dont have any other life outside of blogging?
sass says: Just the one really. Only because it ended so terribly and the drama continued til I don’t know April.
sass says: I do have a life outside of blogging. As my blog exhibits.

tony says: what was so terrible about the end? did he get with your bff?
sass says: No with the girl who played his love interest on his TV show.
tony says: omg was that YOUR sex tape i saw?
sass says: I don’t have a sex tape. But I do have nude photes.
tony says: wait, bro has a tv show?
sass says: Yea in fact one of Raymi’s friends was the director. That’s probably giving too much info.
tony says: raymi is too connected
sass says: So am I. Foo.

tony says: ok so why are you going to move to the hk then
sass says: I’m not. But my mom likes to dangle the idea to me on a weekly basis.
sass says: I was born there. Lived there for 10 years or so. My parents still live there.
tony says: do you habla chinese?
sass says: Oui
tony says: have you ever been with a chinese dude?
sass says: Define “been with”
tony says: omg OMG wait yes Yes YES!OOOOOOOOOOOMG o. m. g.
tony says: etc
sass says: I’ve never had sex with a Chinese guy
sass says: I’ve made out with 2. That’s it. I think.
tony says: any explanation for this?
sass says: Just haven’t met one I’ve been attracted to the point of doing it?
tony says: in your profile you say that you only like dudes over 6’2″ – could that be the reason?
sass says: I don’t have a profile.
sass says: But in my About Sass page I do say that.
sass says: It could be the reason why I don’t like Asian guys. But it’s also the reason why I don’t like a lot of white guys either.

tony says: so its the blacks you love? perfect.
sass says: No, I’ve never even made out with a black guy.
sass says: They’re rare, where I frequent.
sass says: At U of T I was at a college which was mainly Jewish.
sass says: At Club Monaco, boys were mainly gay. And not Black. There’s one black guy at my office now. that’s about it.

tony says: why were you at a gay club? and why did your bf start working there? this is all very curious
sass says: Club Monaco is a clothing store. They have them in LA. It’s owned by Ralph Lauren. It’s very much like Banana Republic only everything isn’t in subdued khaki pansy colours but black and white
tony says: i think im glad i have never heard of it
sass says:
tony says: i only wear clothes my mom got me at sears 15 years ago
sass says: Zexy.
tony says: yeah those clothes are gay times a million
sass says: TOTES. But hot.
sass says: And chic.
sass says: I can’t bring myself to buy anything from there now that I don’t have an employee discount.

tony says: do you get a lot of readers on your blog?
sass says: No
sass says: It’s still a baby
sass says: But I ought to. Doncha think?
tony says: yes i do
sass says: Woot!
sass says: I like you. Let’s be friends. And party. In the Annex. Or not. So Raymi will come.
tony says: i like all of canada. even the parts canadians say are lame
sass says: I haven’t been to many parts. So i’ll take your word for it.
tony says: seen one igloo seen em all

tony says: ok so when are you gonna get over your ex?
sass says: Ugh…. who knooooowwwsss. Probably when I start legitimately liking someone else. I’m not over him because I have no other reference of ‘boy’ in my head except for him.
tony says: was he your first bf?
sass says: Oh and that I’m friends with his friends and he live 960 metres away from me.
sass says: No, he was the third boyfriend.
tony says: is that far away or close?
tony says: in america we only use centimeters
sass says: Let me convert that into miles
tony says: gratzi
sass says: 0.596516345 miles.
tony says: half mile eh
tony says: enough to skip there
sass says: enough to spit
sass says: Raymi’s right. The Annex SUCKS.
tony says: ahahahaha
sass says: He lives on the street side too. So even my friends have developed a habit of looking into his window when they walk by. I don’t anymore. Because if I see the blinds shut I know he’s fucking in there. And I don’t want to know that anymore.

tony says: poor girl. so wait have you met Raymi yet?
sass says: No. Just that wave from yonder side of the glass of St. Louis Bar & Grill. But soon.
tony says: shes great, as is fil. and christie. and christies girls
sass says: Who’s Christie? She’ll have to be my friend then too.
tony says: when youre on my blog, if you click the top banner picture deal it goes to her blog on the LA Times. she lives in yr hood too.
sass says: Funny pages 2.0?
tony says: yep
sass says: She’s hot. She’s got that evil raised eyebrow, smirk thing going on there on her blurb. I don’t think she’d be friends with me though. I can tell.
tony says: and thats where youre wrong
tony says: isnt it nice to be wrong sometimes?
sass says: No. Never. In fact tonight my best friend Kate yelled out loud while I was talking to some guy “Don’t you know? SASS ALWAYS HAS TO BE RIGHT!”

tony says: ok if youre not gonna be a doctor in china, what do you want to be when you grow up?
sass says: MTV VJ. or a Pussycat Doll.
sass says: Make it happen Tony, make it happen.
tony says: but of course
tony says: are you a good dancer?
sass says: Totes.
tony says: Christie should be on tv too. maybe you two can do a show together
sass says: Raymi. Christie and I should all do a show together.
tony says: no no. not raymi
sass says: why not?
sass says: She’s my fave.
tony says: raymi cannot share the camera with anyone. let alone two other babes
tony says: shes my fave too. but she needs her own deal
sass says: Fine. Ok. The more famous one gets her own deal.
tony says: maybe you could tie her up in the corner. and have her screaming in the background “I COULD BE DOING THIS BETTER!”
sass says: No, that would be cruel. Dinkus.
tony says: cruel or hilarious?
sass says: Only when the cruelty is inflicted on shady motherfuckers.
sass says:I’ll have Raymi sing on the show.

tony says: you three should go to the cat and the fiddle. or whatever it is that karaoke place is
sass says: What’s that?
tony says: under the holiday inn
sass says: oh fox and the fiddle.

tony says: you will be happy to know that i went to Panda Express tonight
sass says: Sacrilege
tony says: sometimes you want fast n easy chinese.
tony says: and they had a donation thing for the Sichauan Relief fund
sass says: Oh.
sass says: That’s gangster.
tony says: and it had several $10 bills in there
sass says: YAY! yea the momsicle calls every other day telling me how terrible it all is. and crying. which really disturbs me, because she’s usually such an evil bitch.
tony says: and this got to her?
sass says: yea. majorly.
sass says: we don’t get hourly updates here in north america
tony says: sometimes tragedies wake people up
sass says: yea it is. like i said in my blog, Chinese people are so strangely connected
tony says: even though theres a billion of ya?
sass says: not that other people aren’t emphatic
sass says: but like if something happened in poland
sass says: or i don’t know Ireland.
sass says: all the “Irish-Canadians” will probably feel less personally involved than all the Chinese do at this point. I really just feel terrible about all the horrendous damage, deaths, amputations, orphans, like I wish my parents could adopt a kid who lost their leg or something.
sass says: but they’re too old to be eligible.
tony says: thats sad
sass says: Yea. Way to end on a light note, sass.
tony says: its ok. i loved your video and now we can include it
sass says: yea i’m waiting for my friend who offered me $20. Then i’m just gonna write off a cheque for $100 or something
tony says: if you have paypal my readers have been known to paypal people

sass says: Why can’t i see older posts other than the ones on the first page of your blog?
sass says: I only started reading when i found the link off of Raymi’s page
sass says: and i like your poetry. a lot.
tony says: awww thanks!
tony says: i am trying to get people to read only the new stuff every day
sass says: also i hadn’t seen any other interviews so i was like what the deal?
tony says: i am on the cusp of scorpio, so you know, mystery, etc
sass says: libra? or saggitt-loserus
tony says: libra
sass says: niceee
tony says: 10/22
sass says: oooh! Zac Hanson’s birthday
tony says: that was a little too quick.
sass says: haha also my childhood bff’s sharon’s birthday
tony says: great lets have a pajama party.