Monday, April 13, 2009

The Demise of the U.S. Newspaper?

In a 2003 MSNBC news article titled Newspaper circulation on rise, just not in U.S., the writer discusses a marked increase in global newspaper readership.  However, according to this article, newspaper circulation is on the decline in the United States.  Research shows that more and more people in this country appear to be foregoing the printed word in favor of online newspapers, e-mails, and various other types of digital media.

For years people have been claiming the advent of digital media would cause the demise of newspapers.  Over the years, however, the same has been said with each new form of mass media presented to the public.  Many thought that the Internet was a deathblow for television, just as they thought television would surely end the days of radio.  It’s been found, however, that the older forms of mass media merely adapt (and in many cases converge) whenever a new form is invented.  So I doubt we’re witnessing the end of the printed word in this country.

Reply to a Classmate's Blog

My comment on Ana Valentine's Response to Online Article post, April 13, 2009 1:33 PM

Mexico: Weapons from U.S. fuel drug war

In this MSNBC article, the writer discusses the escalating drug violence in the border regions between Mexico and the United States.  An overwhelming number of these crimes involve weapons seized by drug cartels that can be traced to the U.S.  This facet of the ongoing war between Mexican police and the outlaws has resulted in reconsideration to once more banning assault weapons in the U.S.  President Obama has already made numerous provisions to curtail violence in the region, "including providing more federal agents to try to stop gun smuggling."

Though the growing violence across the border has become a major problem over the last several months, I don't think that further U.S. gun restrictions is in any way an appropriate response.  It would merely follow suit with so much legislation of the last half decade, during which congress placed more and more constraints on the American people using the excuse of "international unrest."  They would only be replacing one problem for another.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The World's 50 Most Powerful Blogs

In an article by The Observer, the world's 50 most powerful blogs are listed and discussed in detail.  On the one hand, the reader is offered the top-ranked Huffington Post, which revolutionized the political blogosphere into a mainstream news entity.  On the other hand, you have the frivolous cultural novelties - like "lego reconstructions of pop videos and cakes baked in the shape of iPods" - presented by the blog Boing Boing.  Perezhilton retains a prominent spot on the list by raking celebrities over the coals via gossip and hearsay, while Chocolate and Zucchini offers food recipes and cooking styles to thousands of its followers.

The blogosphere appears very diverse in its subject matter.  What's interesting is how incredibly wide-ranging the world's top-tier blogs actually are.  I expected the majority of them to be of a strictly world news or political nature.  And while surfing websites pertaining to the outrageous lives of Hollywood stars and the nonsensical creations of harebrained pop artists may result in no more than hours of wasted time and a pair of bloodshot eyes, it's refreshing to know that nonsense still has a place in peoples' everyday lives.

Piracy off the coast of Somalia

According to the Daily Oklahoman, tensions are rising in the standoff between the U.S. federal government and pirates off the coast of Somalia.  On Wednesday, April 8, a group of Somalian outlaws attempted to hijack the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama.  The crew of the Alabama thwarted their efforts and was successful in driving them off the ship.  However, Richard Phillips, the ship's captain, was taken hostage by the pirates in a lifeboat now drifting on the Indian Ocean out of gas.  The lifeboat is being closely monitored by the U.S. Military. Negotiations with Phillip's captors are ongoing.

I don't think people in this part of the world ever really consider the fact that modern-day pirates do exist.  The notion of seafaring outlaws appears almost wholly dependent upon our memories of the flamboyant, swashbuckling characters of so many subpar Hollywood flicks in the 1930s and 1940s.  Meanwhile, piracy continues to plague the coasts of Africa, India, China, and Japan to this day.

As unpleasant as the events that have unfolded in the last week may be, at the very least they serve to illustrate the point that maritime crime is still a major problem in much of the world.

(This issue has since been resolved and The Daily Oklahoman has pulled the article.)