Dead Men Writing

Say it ain't so. It's so, ain't it?

Picked up my Dallas Morning News this morning – Went into the driveway and physically picked it up. I’m a dinosaur, ridicule away. – pulled out SportsDay and had a bright idea.

For Halloween I will dress as a newspaper. Nothing scarier.

When I started at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram back in 19 and 86, sport-specific special sections were a staple of the business. For the start of the major seasons -- separate pull-out sections with all sorts of features and predictions and schedules and photos. A pain to write. But, damn, how I now miss them.

Today, it struck me. No Mavs special section in Dallas’ Only Daily. Uh-oh.

Beat writer Eddie Sefko had an in-depth Dirk Nowitzki feature the other day and there was a month-by-month analysis yesterday I think and today there’s a back-page roster breakdown. But no special section.

Which means, of course, not enough advertising to support one.

When I was kid I couldn’t wait to get the afternoon issue of the Dallas Times Herald. Blackie Sherrord. Skip Bayless. Jim Dent. Back then ours was a three-horse Metroplex. Shoot, one of my first gigs at the FWS-T was to edit the P.M. version of the paper. That’s right, two issues a day.

Now, newspaper writers are like skeletons clinging to withered vines. The Times Herald is long gone. So too departed from the biz are writers like Gerry Fraley, Kevin Blackistone, Chip Brown, T.R. Sullivan, Art Garcia and Mike Fisher.

There aren’t many of us left making a living offering sports opinions printed on dead trees. (Fingers crossed, alcohol and sex and thought-provoking prose will continue to be recession-proof at the Observer’s paper product. If not, please bookmark your friendly Sportatorium. Now!)

Quick is shifting strategies. I get a copy of something called Briefing thrown in my yard almost daily. And I read this week that the DMN’s circulation is down another 9 percent. The Christian Science Monitor , in fact, has made the full leap into paperless.

First SportsDay put ads on its cover. Then auto classifieds in the back. Now, no more special sections. What’s next? Scary, man. Scary.

So, show of hands, how many of y'all still physically pick up a daily, or even weekly newspaper?

Boo! – Richie Whitt


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