The Corner

Daily Afterthought

Michael Connelly’s new crime novel, The Scarecrow, is out today — and it’s current enough that it actually makes a reference to the demise of the Rocky Mountain News, which shut down about three months ago. That’s how fast book publishing can occur today. The future of the media, in fact, is a minor theme of The Scarecrow. Before he took up fiction, Connelly was a newspaper reporter. The main character in this new book is a journalist, too. The Scarecrow is worthwhile because it’s a good, page-turning story. But it also contains lots of smart asides, such as this one: “A crime reporter always wants a good murder to write about. The reporter’s good luck is somebody else’s bad luck.”

Here’s another observation, not exactly original but nevertheless well put:

Like the paper and ink newspaper itself, my time was over. It was about the Internet now. It was about hourly uploads to online editions and blogs. It was about television tie-ins and Twitter updates. It was about filing stories on your phone instead of using it to call rewrite. The morning paper might as well be called the Daily Afterthought. Everything in it was posted on the web the night before.

John J. Miller, the national correspondent for National Review and host of its Great Books podcast, is the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. He is the author of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.


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