For the last year, my oldest brother and his wife have been participating in a weekly civic protest of the war in Iraq. Up here in the Boston area, you’re unusual if you’re not protesting the war and making fun of George Bush (just ask Mitt Romney), but in a small town in red-state North Carolina, it takes considerably more courage to speak out on a topic like this. Here’s the article about it from my old hometown newspaper, the Winston-Salem Journal: Anti-war protesters join at Elkin corner every Thursday as sign of their concern. Go, bro!
I was also curious to see that the newspaper site features some video content. It’s an interesting little video clip (prominently featuring my smiling, waving brother), but more generally it’s fascinating to watch a newspaper putting up multimodal content like podcasts and video. I’m picturing someone trained as a writer being given a video camera by their editor and being told to “bring home some video.”
Two years ago, I read this interview with Dave Barry in which he talked about the predicament of the modern newspaper. They’re losing money, they’re laying off staff, and they’re telling their people to do podcasts and videos in addition to their day job. As Barry put it, “Newspapers are dead.” He told the story of how his wife, a sportswriter at the Miami Herald was asked to do a podcast for the last winter Olympics in addition to filing her normal stories. It’s hard to guess what newspapers will look like when the bleeding finally stops, but it hasn’t happened yet. I guess the same thing can be said about Iraq.