Emily's thoughtful signoff puts me in a conciliatory mood. It's obvious, after just a few days of this experiment, that the Web cannot touch the depth of reporting, or ability to organize the news, that daily papers do. The aggregators—and you know who you are, o parasites of all the hardworking reporters—would crumble without the hundreds of daily stories put together by mostly anonymous journalists. This is especially true in international reporting and specialty business affairs. Today, for example, both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times have a very significant story from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: a proposal for a sort of NATO for the Middle East, should Iran get a nuclear weapon. The other big story is that Obama's news conference, based simply on how the papers reported it, probably did not move public opinion. His weighing in on the Gates arrest—a mistake, he would probably say—will likely get more attention.
But, all that said, I also miss my Web community. I felt sort of orphaned not being able to read HuffPo and DailyKos and TPM on the left, or Drudge and FreeRepublic on the right, or—for a conventional wisdom fix—Real Clear Politics. I missed the original commentary of Slate and the Daily Beast—asking questions the papers clearly missed (no pandering intended). Also, I didn't realize until now how hooked I was on guilty-pleasure snarkiness from any number of Web sites. All of those have become habit-forming, in the way that you need (at least here in Seattle) regular caffeine injections throughout the day.
So, this experiment left me with a profound appreciation for the miracle of daily newspapers and the value of synthesized, largely fact-checked information—what the Wall Street Journal used to call the daily diary of the American dream, in its ad. But I also felt blinded, from about noon on.