Subscribing to a newspaper means something
For the past several months I’ve played a mind game with myself: only paying for five weeks at a time for the Sacramento Bee newspaper, thinking that I need to stop my addiction to the morning paper, join the younger set and get my news via the internet. I was fed up with the shrinking physical size of the paper, and even more with the declining ratio of news to fluff. On a purely practical level I have trouble with ink staining my hands and the advertising sheet they now append to the front page annoys me. So, it seemed to be just a matter of time until I stopped having the paper arrive at my front door with a thud, every day at 4:00 a.m.
But then two weeks ago I saw the Sacramento Bee investigative report on the new Bay Bridge safety reports. The Bee reports that a Caltrans employee whose job it was to check construction of the Bay Bridge for safety was found (years ago) to have falsified reports on the safety of the bridge supports under construction. This investigation has uncovered disquieting information about the bridge safety monitoring, Caltrans management (why was this employee allowed to continue working, unchecked), and a general failure of California State government agencies to function.
This horrifying revelation affects a construction project that costs billions and could endanger the lives and commerce of millions of people. This was not adequately investigated by local TV, or by the millions of bloggers providing online news.
For that reason alone, I’ve decided to keep subscribing to the newspaper. Freedom of the Press allows us to discover and hopefully prevent future problems like the Caltrans fiasco. Independent newspapers are still the key to freedom.