The New York Times is once again closing two more of its columns: “The Ethicist” (obviously covering ethical issues) and “The Medium” (a column on the effects of digitization on society). After “The Stone” and “The Minimalist” closed a month ago, I’m wondering if these successive deaths are telling us something about modern readers.
Perhaps each of these columns, which had lives as short as nine months to as long as thirteen years, simply ran out their course. But as the world shifts from print to digital, the closing of these columns may demonstrate a trend in the tastes of the readership (or authorship). Most of the columnists have gone on to write for blogs or moved to other sectors of journalism such as public radio. For our part, our news consumption has moved towards blogs, RSS feeds, and other online content. As one comment on lifehacker’s question “How Do You Read the News?” said:
My news comes from the web then tv
I use Google and begin from the UK the BBC website a lot. I have RSS feeds set up for my sports news from both the BBC and Sky Sports. My mainstream news comes from google and the news I normally wouldn’t read about comes from Digg.
I tend to then use the TV every night at 10 O’clock to fill in the gaps with important news on BBC 24 or the Sky News TV channel.
The only thing I use newspapers for is the sudoku and the crossword occasionally.
The blog and the podcast may very well have become the new column.