Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/11/25

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Subject: RE: [Leica] RE: A vanishing act
From: "Khoffberg" <>
Date: Wed, 25 Nov 1998 18:39:09 -0800

At the risk of starting a flame war . . .

Book publishers get bought by huge companies.  So record companies.  Small
book stores get put out of business by large ones.  And on and on it goes.
And out of the void left behind rise new players to meet the needs abandoned
by the previous generation if there is in fact really a need left over.

Although the demise of the broadsheet seems deplorable to many of us given
our age, let's not get too carried away by the thought that there is somehow
a lack of news, information, insight, drivel, watchdogging, and all the
other roles occasionally taken on by the local newspaper.

Eric's employer and a double handful of others notwithstanding, there are
precious few newspapers who can legitimately be accused of quality and
thoughtful reporting of what's really newsworthy and significant.  The fact
that there are fewer and fewer two newspaper towns is a function of a
hundred factors other than the doings of conglomerates or the gravity
defying US equity markets.

That one of the great traditional markets for PJ (and all the connections to
Nikon Fs and M3s) is slowly getting choked off is surely a bad thing for the
practitioners of the craft.  It's probably not a great thing for readers as
we all get less and less diversity in visual and literary point of view
THROUGH THIS CHANNEL.  But again, out of those ashes new opportunity for
visually recording and interpreting our world will arise as surely as spring
follows winter.

The answer?  Francesco's mini lug site! :)

My two cents.
Kevin Hoffberg

>These new owners, with far-flung and diverse economic interest, have
>little commitment to local communities. It is possible that they are not
>likely to be committed to journalistic (watchdog) traditions.
>The news shouldn't be defined primarily  as one of the profit making
>in a conglomerate's portfolio.

While this is true, and the trend for newspapers is to chains (Thanks FCC
for selling out) and for Wall Street portfolios to look at papers as profit
centers rather than the fourth estate, the journalists who work in them are
often at opposition to this trend, and do whatever they can to be
subversive to the diluting of content. Not always successful. The small
papers are most vulnerable to the bean counter syndrome.

I, on the other hand, am quite lucky to be at a locally owned paper that
cares about quality and as long as it earns the owners a good profit
(somewhere in the 30 percent range right now, though for the next year it's
a negative because we're dropping $7.5 million for new presses) we won't be
sold to the chains.

But what does this have to do with Leica? Photojournalism as a profession
is quite cost conscious, and that has a lot more to do with choice of
cameras used rather than performance of those cameras. So the fact that
they are, or aren't used by photojournalists has more to do with that. Many
of the ones I know would choose Leica if they could afford it. They are
subversives like me. :-)
- --

Eric Welch
St. Joseph, MO

"I say, play your own way. Don't play what the public wants. You play what
you want and let the public pick up on what you're doing - even if it does
take them fifteen, twenty years."
- -- Thelonious Monk