Recently, I was trying to explain my job to a witty older lady largely unfamiliar with the concept of blogging. After viewing a few of my posts, she asked me if it was now common practice for daily newspapers, too, to employ foulmouthed, angry youths to espouse on any topic they deem fit. I thought about it and realized it's really not common practice for daily newspapers to hire youths, the angry, the foulmouthed, or otherwise to espouse their views on much of anything.
I hate to, once again, pick on the Miami Herald, but this is a locally focused blog and the Herald is our local paper, plus its recently redesigned website features a columnist page that perfectly illustrated a certain problem. The page features a portrait of every columnist in a nice, colorful circle. You might also notice that the average age of a Herald columnist is probably in the 50s. This isn't a problem unique in any way to the Herald, but yes, it is a problem.
Papers are beside themselves trying to figure out how to make money in the age of the internet, but are completely ignoring the generation that grew up on the internet. Not to mention the demographic that advertisers salivate over.
It's not that younger people don't want to read columns and opinion pieces, but they do want to see the occasional piece by someone their own age. Problem is, all the opinionated, snappy writers in their 20s and early 30s got jobs bitching on blogs and not on wood chips.
So, from a young person's point of view, why even bother picking up a newspaper? We can pick up the news stuff online, you know, in the same place, for free. And the web is maybe the only place we can find the commentary and opinion that makes an effort to be relevant to anyone under 40.