Newspapers Get Buggywhipped


Slate's Jack Shafer takes on the cause of all those poor, over-chronicled unemployed journalists trying to find someone to blame for their predicament and give them a little advice:

I keep waiting for one of these distressed, failing newspapers to realize that it has nothing to lose and get a little crazy and create something brand new and brilliant for readers and advertisers. I keep being disappointed.

(My personal favorite candidate for newspaper slayer—and chief national pimp—is Craig Newmark of craisglist. He denied both charges, of course, when I interviewed him for reason.)

Anyway, those bought-out journalists are in good company. In addition to the oft-cited buggywhip makers, Shafer whips together a nice list of lost or soon-to-be-lost pursuits:

• Bank tellers
• Typewriters
• Typesetting
• Carburetors
• Vacuum tubes
• Slide rules
• Disc jockeys
• Stockbrokers
• Telephone operators
• Yellow pages
• Repair guys
• Bookbinders
• Pimps (displaced by the cell phone and the Web)
• Cassette and reel-to-reel recorders
• VCRs
• Turntables
• Video stores
• Record stores
• Bookstores
• Recording industry
• Courier/messenger services
• Travel agencies
• Print and cinematic porn
• Porn actors
• Stenographers
• Wired telcos
• Drummers
• Toll collectors (slayed by the E-ZPass)
• Book publishing (especially reference works)
• Conventional-watch makers
• "Browse" shopping
• U.S. Postal Service
• Printing-press makers
• Film cameras
• Kodak (and other film-stock makers)

Add your own! It's fun for the whole family!