THE ALTERNATIVE (UNIVERSE) PRESS

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SIXTY more of my former co-workers at The Hartford Courant lost their jobs this month as the newspaper business continues to self-destruct. Thousands of newspaper writers, editors and columnists across the country have lost their jobs this year. A friend of mine who quit the business several years ago to go into teaching just told me his school can’t even afford to print the student paper anymore (now there’s a lesson for the kids…)

But I’m here to tell you that there is a place where journalism is still alive and well, where reporters are plentiful and leaders are held accountable for their actions — unfortunately it’s on “Battlestar Galactica.”

The Sci Fi Channel show takes place in a parallel universe mostly identical to ours, except for the cornerless paper, the gods-damn frackin’ swear words and those pesky killer Cylons. And one other thing — all the reporters.

Now, I love the show and I know it’s science fiction, but I can’t figure out why every time President Roslin holds a press conference, dozens of reporters show up, clamoring to ask the next question. Who are these people?

This is a society that has dwindled down to 40,000 or so survivors (the number, shown in the opening credits, typically decreases from week to week) living aboard a fleet of ships, looking for a new home planet (possibly Earth.) Seriously, does this small group of people really have 30 or 40 news outlets? How come I never see anyone reading a cornerless newspaper or watching TV (do they even have TV?) If you do the math, there’s a reporter for every thousand survivors. Yet, far as I can tell, they have one doctor.

Whatever. The show is allegorical, using sci-fi to address modern-day American issues such as terrorism and war and torture and other big stuff we’d rather not think about unless cool spaceships are blowing up. But as “Battlestar Galactica” goes on, the unstoppable evil killing machines out to destroy humanity seem to reflect our real world better than the huge press corps trying to get to the bottom of things.

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3 Responses to “THE ALTERNATIVE (UNIVERSE) PRESS”

  1. 45vinyljunkie Says:

    I wouldn’t use “Battlestar Galactica” as a reflection of the modern-day newspaper. One news reporter for each thousand or so people in the general public? That’s really science fiction! Man, the Courant keeps whittling away at its handful of reporters (and all employees in general) for a million-plus people in its coverage area. Needless to say, nearly everyone still working here at the Courant has come up with a Plan B that will be enacted when (or before, in many cases) the seemingly inevitable happens. Christ, I just hope my plan works…

  2. Fred the Understater Says:

    Nerd.

  3. Wow, maybe there IS hope for our industry in the future. . I like those odds. . I’m gonna start doing some research on these Cylon-thingies, so I’ll have an edge on the competition in 2092. . .

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