Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The American-Statesman Becomes Even More Irrelevant

It's fairly well known that newspaper readership is declining. So, if you are the Austin American-Statesman, what do you do? Apparently, you remove one of the last reasons to subscribe. Though their website has no mention of it (that I could find), Sunday's issue of Show World (their TV section) was its last.

Honestly, Show World was one of the last things the Statesman had going for it, as it was by far the most convenient way to get program listings for those of us without an interactive program guide. TV Guide was no competition, what with its having discarded local listings a few years ago.

The announcement that Show World was going away offered several "convenient" other options to get TV listings, which I will list in the order of helpfulness, from most to least:
  • "Evening listings will be available every day in Life & Arts." Great. What if I want to know what's on at 5:00?
  • Online: You can customize your listings at http://austin360.com/tvlistings. That would be convenient if my computer were anywhere near my television. But it's not. (Sure, you can print them out, but now they've shifted the cost of printing the listings to you.)
  • E-Mail: They'll send you a link to the listings. See previous item.
  • Phone: Like I'm going to call the Inside Line and listen for four minutes just to find out Fox 7 is showing American Idol again.
  • Fax: Yes, you can have listings faxed to you. Like all your junk faxes don't use up your ribbon fast enough. No thanks.
With the departure of Show World, I can now get pretty much everything the Statesman offers elsewhere:
  • Comics: here or here (with the bonus of old Bloom County strips)
  • Sports: virtually anywhere
  • Recipes: not that I'm looking, but lots of places
  • Voter's Guides: picked one up at the library Saturday.
  • Coupons: I might miss a few, I suppose, but most of what is in the Sunday inserts is for products we don't use anyway.
  • Way-too-politically-slanted cartoons: the Austin Chronicle, of course.
  • Way-too-politically-slanted opinions: again, the Chronicle, most notably Louis Black's regularly-appearing column, "All Republicans Are Evil and Want to Eat Your Children".
So, I'm really not sure what the point is of continuing to subscribe to the Statesman. And, as an added bonus, maybe I'll watch less TV.

Update 2/25/09: Oh, look, the Statesman brought it back. Kinda.