|While network television leads the way as the most visible news medium to suffer the dramatic decline
of viewership and credibility of the past 10 or 20 years, the large-scale newspaper and magazine
publishers are a close second. The former flagship news publications of The New York Times,
Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and Los Angeles Times have all suffered huge declines in
circulation in recent years. Many factors are blamed, not the least of which is the fact that so many
people are getting their news from Internet sites. However, many studies (including in-house surveys)
show that an increased suspicion and mistrust of newspaper reporters and publishers among readers
is also a significant factor in the decline.
Personally, I rarely read actual print newspapers or magazines. My own reasons for this include both
the practical matter of it being easier to read news from the Internet sites of most papers, as well as
the ideological problems I have with most of these teetering dinosaurs of the news world. I don't believe
there to be some grand conspiracy or monolithic power structure which dictates the liberal bias under
which most editors and reporters operate. Rather, I believe that the personal makeup of many of these
media professionals, coupled with the myopic, uniform culture in which most are educated, work, and
reside make for a mindset in which they honestly believe themselves to be objective while continuing to
motor headlong into their next biased report. I'm reminded of the quote from the longtime New York
Times columnist Pauline Kael, who, upon learning of Richard Nixon's election victory was famously
heard to say "How could that possibly be? I don't know a single person who voted for Nixon!"
Let's all just be honest for a moment. There is no such thing as unbiased journalism. Every news entity
from Reuters to NBC to NPR to Fox is biased in some way, because these news outlets are run by
human beings, and we human beings are biased and discriminating by biological design. I'm not here to
tell you how you should view or read the news, only to tell you that I have been helped in deciphering
news and information by always reminding myself of the fact that there is a big difference between the
way we commonly view information coming from those who stake out the realm of news analysis and
commentary, and the way we ingest it when that information is coming from those who claim to be
So, that being said, here is a listing (along with brief commentary) of the newspapers and magazines I
tend to access (usually online) on a regular basis. It's quite an eclectic grouping, and certainly unique to
my own personal situation, but I hope you'll take some time to check them out. You may even find a
new news source to make your own!
One of two major local papers, The Deseret (Morning) News is Utah's oldest
continuously published newspaper, having first appeared on June 15, 1850. At
that time the area of Utah was known as the State of Deseret, hence the name.
The Deseret News has always served as the not-so-unofficial voice for the LDS
church, which owns the paper via it's for-profit entity Deseret Management
Corporation. The Deseret News has generally been considered to be a
conservative paper, both in type of content (it allows no advertising that violates
church standards) and editorial opinion. My personal opinion is that the quality
of this paper has been somewhat less than it's main competitor, The Salt Lake
Tribune. However, in the past 5 or 10 years, the quality of both papers has sunk.
The editorial content of the Deseret News is increasingly liberal, but with a
superior Sports section to that of The Tribune.
The (Salt Lake) Tribune is Utah's most widely read paper, with a circulation of 130,000
weekday editions. Started in 1871, the paper was originally called The Mormon
Tribune, and was published by a group of Mormon businessmen who had open
disagreements with church officials. After it's sale to "boarder ruffians" from Kansas in
1873, the paper turned almost comically anti-Mormon. However, in 1901 the paper was
purchased by Roman Catholic senator Thomas Kearns and his business partner, who
strove to maintain good relations with church leaders while maintaining an
independent voice for the paper. Upon Kearns death in 1919, the Kearns family bought
the remainder of the paper, and continued to have full ownership until 1997, when it
was sold to Tele-Communications Inc.. Today the paper is owned by the Denver based
Media News. The Tribune in it's present form leans hard to the left, though occasionally
giving lip service to the inevitably large numbers of moderate to conservative readers.
The Tribune is probably best scene as an unfortunate necessity in a State with nearly
monopolistic cultural and political leadership.
The City Weekly is a free, local paper which serves mainly as an entertainment and dining guide.
If ever there were a liberal "rag," this is it! It's contains a degree of "serious" social/political
stories and commentary, as well as large doses of parody and attempted humor. It is funny, but
only when it's unintentional. The condescension, avarice, and juvenile nature of this paper
makes it a worthy competitor to most any major university campus newspaper. But, unlike most
college papers, this paper often contains a lot of useful information on where to see a movie,
have a drink, see art, theater, live music, or where to take your date to dinner. So, I admit, I read
it every week! (Caution: Movie reviews are quite good, but restaurant reviews are suspect).
The Sydney Morning Herald served as my local paper when we lived in Australia
('97-'00). There are several daily newspapers published in Australia, but two
which compete for the readership of Sydney-siders, The Sydney Morning Herald
and The Daily Telegraph. The Herald is read by significantly fewer people than
The Daily Telegraph, but The Herald is read by a readership with a markedly
higher AB demographic (which measures education, income and occupation).
The Sydney Morning Herald is a "broadsheet" paper, with a A2 page size, while
the decidedly more tabloid style Daily Telegraph is considerably smaller with a
page size of A3. The Sydney Morning Herald has traditionally been seen as the
more moderate counterpoint to it's sister paper (both are owned by Fairfax
Publishing) The Melbourne Age, however, I believe it would be seen as being
moderate-left by most Americans. There are a couple of the outstanding
columnists at The Herald including Miranda Devine and Gerard Henderson. I
read The Sydney Morning Herald several times a week, and although I often get
"homesick" for Australia, it also helps me feel that I'm not so far away.
The Honolulu Advertiser, Hawaii's largest newspaper, was founded in 1856 and
known originally as the Pacific Commercial Advertiser. The Advertiser has been
owned by Gannett Pacific Corporation since 1992, and has a daily circulation of
144,000 (more than twice that of it's only rival The Star Bulletin). I try to read the
Honolulu Advertiser at least once a week or so. I read it less than a couple of the
other papers on this list mainly because of it's lesser content and lesser quality.
However, like with the Sydney Morning Herald and Japan Times, I read it partially in
order to stay in touch with a town and community I once claimed as my own. I
normally like to read the articles that concern local issues and concerns, including
articles about local politics (Hawaii is the most Democrat heavy state in the nation),
sports, the University of Hawaii (Tee's alma mater), economy, and crime.
I feel especially grateful to live in the age of the Internet when able to access sites such as that
of the Japan Times. This is a paper which I read daily during my various times living in Japan.
The Japan Times is one of three major English language newspapers in Japan, and would
certainly be considered liberal. There is also a quality online edition of the Japan Times. While
there tends to be an excessive amount of human interest stories and repetitive political stories,
the sports, arts, cultural, and travel sections make it worthwhile for me to read on a regular
basis. I would especially like to point out a few of the great sports and cultural columnists such
Jack Gallagher, Dan Latham, Wayne Gracnyzk, and John Gauntner.