Newspapers: not dead yet

Robert Gober’s “Newspaper” (1992)

Ever since the birth of online news, we’ve heard endless forecasts of the supposed doomsday of the newspaper industry, so now that web media is a daily part of most former newspaper-reader’s lives, is it true? Are newspapers really on the outs? It’s likely that even more local papers will go under – many already have. Big guns like The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and The Washington Post are all down a couple of percents – a slower decline than what was predicted three years ago. The future is still uncertain, but it’s not the quick death a lot of us feared it might be.

The New Museum, however, is ready to call out the grim reaper on the whole industry. Their latest exhibition, “The Last Newspaper,” is practically a eulogy. Seeking to examine and celebrate the value of newspapers by selecting pieces whose unifying theme is containing actual pieces of newsprint, they come to the unsatisfying conclusion that newspapers are still viable because they make for great material for artists to cut and paste, paint or drawn on or glue into collages. Maybe the artists manage to catch a few headlines as they’re tearing them up to juxtapose with an ironic image, but as far as the actual reading of the news, that’s what Google Reader is for, right?

Judith Bernstein’s “Are You Running With Me Jesus?” (1967)