New York Times

Praise for news in print, from Nixon's corner

Can't say I expected to read an eloquent tribute to the printed newspaper from John H. Taylor, an Episcopal priest and the longtime executive director of the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace Foundation. That's Nixon the loather of journalists. But today's New York Times handling of the Hudson River landing, and of other news, made Taylor put down his Kindle. Sample: "No new medium has as yet replaced the experience of absorbing, in one evocative and intelligently-ordered and -designed package, the creative work of editors and reporters."

Since I got my Kindle for Kristmas in 2007, the Nixon Foundation’s copy of the New York Times has languished in my office until, after the decent interval I have decreed in the event I should for some reason choose to bestow my favor, a colleague takes it to be enjoyed by those who still read newspapers on newsprint....

For whatever reason, I didn’t read the paper before coming to work. As usual, the printed Times awaited on a credenza. It asked nothing of me. It has grown used to my neglect. But this morning, across five columns (shrunken columns, since the paper got narrower a couple of years ago), was a color photo of the US Airways Airbus A320 floating in the Hudson River. The Kindle edition would’ve had the photo, but small and black and white. I’ve seen plenty of on-line photos of yesterday’s miraculous event, and it was all over the cable and broadcast news last night.

But five columns in the paper! That means something right off the bat...


And yet the emergency landing wasn’t the lead article, according to the Times’s lights. That privileged spot was reserved for a one-column headline on the far right that read, “Senate Releases Second Portion Of Bailout Fund; A Victory For Obama; Democrats in the House Offer an $825 Billion Recovery Plan.” And yes, I can see their point...

While CNN and Fox News were hyperventilating, editors at the Times wanted to make sure that readers realized it may even be more important that our representatives, on the same day, took a giant step closer to spending $1.175 trillion in taxpayers’ money within weeks or even days after Jan. 20. That’s what newspapers do — they reach beyond the urgent to the important. They whisper in our ears what we need to know while other media shout what we want to hear.

Taylor comes from a newspaper family — his mother Jean Sharley Taylor was the top editor at the Los Angeles Times' feature sections back when that was a big deal.

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