I was rummaging through digital photos from this past summer and found this shot of a newspaper box at the Morton Grove train station just north of the Chicago limits. Check the price--$1.50 per copy. I was incredulous. How many people actually pay that.
You need to know that when I grew up in Bay City drug stores had a small newspaper stand and it usually included the Tribune. As a kid, I bought it and when I went to Michigan State University, I bought it. I also bought the local paper along with the Detroit papers.
Why is this a big deal? Historically, newspapers have played several roles in our culture. Reporters were the eyes and ears for readers. They would listen, learn and ask questions and share what they learn.
Newspapers would also reflect what was happening in the culture. Many times they would take an issue and give readers a really close look at themselves. Many times readers would not take it well. Sometimes they would demand action.
That's changed. For a buck-fifty, readers in Chicago get a skinned down version of what used to be. The result: Readers have lost an impartial source to keep their leaders honest and they have lost a mirror where they can see themselves.
We all lose.
P.S. I forgot to mention that my first full-time job was a reporter was at the Chicago Tribune.