Twenty years ago, when the Internet was still just a twinkle of possibility for most people, there was a thing called “news”. It came printed out on paper so flimsy it couldn’t even be used for toilet paper, the ink rubbing onto your hands like the cut-rate toner you order on Amazon for a tenth the manufacturer’s price even though you know you shouldn’t. And it even was on the television, not raging opinion for the AARP crowd but actual honest attempts to tell you what was happening in the world. It was like The Daily Show, except serious, and lacking that sense of tragicomedy. And sometimes, just sometimes, we’d get it in magazines. That was like newspaper except glossy and only once per week.
There was Time, which used to be so important that when they named the Person of the Year, people actually cared. Newsweek was its slightly dumber cousin, and US News and World Report the faux intellectual of the bunch.
It’s amazing how fast the news industry has died, but there’s a time for all things. News is not an eternal thing. The incarnation we mourned dying over the last fifteen years hasn’t really existed for more than a century, maybe two hundred years if we are being exceptionally loose in our definitions of such things.
So it goes, said the immortal voice.
One day you will try to tell your grandchildren about journalism and they’ll smile and nod and tell Skynet to screw your brain catheter in tighter.
Here are a selection of headlines from Newsweek this week in case you want to die a little more inside:
Don’t worry about reading more than five of those articles though, because after that your access is cut off unless you become a paying member. Because they get paid to write those articles.