I don’t talk too much about the Kane County Chronicle or Shaw Media these days because, like the oblivious Dr. Crowe in the movie “The Sixth Sense,” those overly self-important folks don’t have the good sense to realize that they’re already dead. Like so many newspapers before them, in stages, Shaw Media will painfully and slowly cease to exist. But while the end is certainly near, they did manage to pull something off worth noting for its strange and utterly unintended result.
It started early Saturday morning with the slap of a newspaper landing on my driveway. Considering we only get the Sunday Trib, I assumed they were trying to get us to subscribe to their other weekend edition.
But when I stumbled out the front door to run, to my mild dismay (I do like the Trib’s Saturday arts section), it turned out to be nothing more than the Saturday Chronicle. After noting how absurdly light that paper had become, I summarily tossed it into the recycling bin while preserving the plastic bag for a future dog walk.
At least I got something out of it.
And speaking of future dog walks, while embarking upon that very Sunday morning quest, I bore witness to a bizarre and fascinating sight. Only 40 percent of my neighbors had bothered to pick up their free Chronicle and, without any ballast to fend off the brisk east wind, the other 60 percent were flying all over the neighborhood.
Of course, this airborne phenomenon came to an abrupt halt with the advent of the afternoon precipitation which turned our subdivision streets into a wet newspaper run over by multiple vehicles mess.
Before they completely fade away, the Chronicle will attempt to go Internet only, but with online ad revenue sitting somewhere between 8 and 12 percent of its print media counterpart, that move won’t stave anything off for very long.
(And then Patch goes out too because Hale Global has turned that former AOL company into a news aggregator in which their overworked editors only grab whatever content the local newspapers manage to report. It’s called the Jonestown business model! You steal your competitor’s content in an effort to put them out of business only to slit your own throat in the process.)
Though no one at Shaw Media will admit it, this is yet another sad sign of just how far the local print media has fallen. What I want to know is, what do you say to yourself when faced with the realization that you can’t even give your newspaper away?