Newsprint, as an industry, is in serious trouble. What’s more, you (yes, you) are an active part of the problem: the screen you’re looking at right now is steadily killing the traditional newspaper, for reasons both good and bad. That mouse you just clicked may as well have been a gallows lever sending the print empires of the 20th century through the trapdoor.
As it turns out, the slow elimination of the daily newspaper from the landscape is a subject best not broached in front of those who have the greatest vested interest in papers – the publishers. This was the lesson learned last week by Elliott Kalan, weekly humor columnist for the New York Metro newspaper, a tabloid giveaway found in the New York subway. Tell the truth, lose your gig.
From New York Magazine:
…the giveaway subway tabloid Metro doesn’t have a sense of humor about its being a giveaway subway tabloid. Daily Show segment producer Elliott Kalan was fired from his weekly gig as a humor columnist after his piece in the August 3 edition, titled “Newspapers: Information’s Horse & Buggy,” declared, “Nobody reads newspapers anymore … As this very copy of Metro shows, the only way to get most people to read a newspaper is to literally force it into their hands.” According to a Metro staffer, Kalan’s column was read by Chris Spalding, the interim CEO of Metro International (which was founded in Stockholm), who was in New York on business. “Our New York publisher, Daniel Magnus, said that the CEO told him we had to fire Elliott immediately,” says the staffer. Kalan was informed that his column had been dropped the following week. “I don’t really know what happened; my assumption is that the wrong person saw it and didn’t get the joke. They’re very straightforward people, the Swedes,” says Kalan.
Gallows humor can be dangerous.