'Wire' Creator Slams News Biz
Simon, famously a a former Baltimore Sun crime reporter, has some very interesting views on the news business–primarly newspapers–in America.
He says: When I went into journalism, there was this naive belief — although it didn’t seem naive at the time, because I was coming in after Watergate and after [journalist David] Halberstam and after a lot of cool stuff — that newspapers were going to become better and deeper and more sophisticated, and they were going to start acquiring reality in ever larger chunks. And that would be part of my overall critique, which you can’t obviously do in the confines of "The Wire" because it’s set in the now, it’s not set in 1985. But when the papers were fat … the afternoon papers got killed by TV, but the ones that survived that were the monopoly papers in their town, like the Sun. They were fat. And at that moment, that was when Wall Street became the paradigm. When the chains bought up everything and they took profits.
A little later, he says:
Nobody knew that the Internet was going to be what it was. Nobody at my paper did, anyway. And now it is what it is, and there is no money, and they didn’t spend the window that they had building something that was so essential and so vibrant and so necessary to understanding the world well that you couldn’t do without it. Guess what, I’ll pay for online advertising. Shit, I’ll pay to be part of your Web site for 10 bucks a month. The chance to create a product where the Internet paradigm would’ve worked and been profitable, it was pissed away.