Readers reside on the obituary page


Via Robert Whitcomb’s “Digital Diary,’’ in

The publicity around the death of former Providence TV investigative reporter Jim Taricani (with whom I had a few pleasant encounters over the years when I was an editor at The Providence Journal) was to some extent nostalgia for when many network-affiliated local TV stations had substantial staffs. Heck, I can remember when some of the major market (e.g., Boston and New York) stations even had the equivalent of editorial-page editors carefully intoning usually bland opinions on assorted public-policy issues.

There’s also an increasing dependence on nostalgia to sell newspapers. Old photos especially. And increasingly, their columnists review events that occurred before the memory of a large part of the population. Newspaper readers tend old. The late Jim Wyman, The Providence Journal’s executive editor for a few years, used to lament that the people on the obituary page were “our readers.’’ And that was 30 years ago, at the dawn of the World Wide Web and well before social media.