Don’t throw out last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine (the one with the photo of an elegant Hamid Karzai on the cover) without reading Michael Sokolove’s article “What’s a Big City Without a Newspaper?” The shock to those living near Haverford’s campus is that Sokolove uses Philadelphia as his prototype for what he sees as possible throughout the country–big cities with no daily newspapers. It’s a thorough account of the struggles of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News to survive.
Two Haverford alumni figure prominently in Sokolove’s story–John Carroll ’63 and Paul Socolar ’77–and as it turns out, Sokolove’s comments about each of them appear in adjoining paragraphs on page 42.
Carroll, former editor of major papers in Lexington (KY), Baltimore and Los Angeles and recipient of an Honorary Degree from Haverford in 2008, is described as a “lion of the traditional news movement.” Sokolove watches John “shift impatiently” in his seat at an all-day conference on the future “Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy.” John concludes that “originally reported news….the kind produced by professional reporters…who go out and dig stuff up” will still be needed in this country.
A paragraph later Socolar is described as “something like the journalist of the future” because of his Philadelphia Public School Notebook, a five-time-per year in-depth publication trying to start a dialogue on public education in the city. (Totally coincidently, The Times ran four paragraphs on this publication the day before Haverford’s web site profiled Paul. So check out the Ford web site for lots more about this creative editor.)
Looks like Haverfordians will have a lot to say about the direction of print media in this country, both in preserving the virtues of the past and leading the way to new forms of communication. We’ll hope the country follows Yogi’s advice and takes both the forks in the road that Socolar and Carroll outline!
–Greg Kannerstein ’63