Monday, September 29, 2008

US Publishers Warn of Capital Meltdown

(Reuters) New York City - New York Times Publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr. warned Congress today that the US Newspapers could see an entire industry wide meltdown if the Federal Government does not inject more Capital Letters into the publishing system. 

"We stand here today at the precipice not seen since World War II, where in a relatively short period of time between the bombing of Pearl Harbor and VJ Day, we saw the near exhaustion of our Capital Letter Reserve....  If we are to continue to present news to the American people with big, bold headlines that capture their imagination, hopes, and horrors, the Government must provide us with more Capital letters." 

Mr. Sulzberger had been called to speak in front of the House Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection Subcommittee on the matter by Chairman Bobby Rush (D-IL) who declared the matter to be one of the "most pressing matters of our new information economy."  

"With the ongoing Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the current financial meltdown, and the upcoming presidential election our national typesetters we be pushed to the breaking point.  Soon, publishers will not be able to express shock, outrage, or panic."

The US publishing industry had traditionally employed a conservative approach to the use of Capital Letters, the last major use thereof coming in 1969 with the first moon landing.  Other instances, such as the freeing of the Iranian hostages, the Challenger disaster, and the start of the First Gulf War also merited the use of Capital Letters, although such occurrences were rare.  The New York Post was one of the few periodicals to refrain from such restraint, allowing even minor event headliness to be published in all caps.  

With the coming of the internet and the information economy, however, a grass roots publishing industry began to take shape.  Consumers and producers alike became awash in cheap Capital Letters.  Many new media sites, most notoriously CBS's, began to use all capital letters with regularity, and private individuals began using them to compose entire emails, slowly grinding away at the US Capital Letter Reserve.   

Rep. Rush has gone so far as to suggest that all US keyboards eliminate the Caps Lock key by the end of 2009.  Some, however, feel this would be too little too late. 

As of September 24th, the Government Printing Office has reported that the US Capital Letter Reserve is down to nearly 1% of where it should be.   In a prepared written statement to the Congressional Subcommittee, GPO Public Printer Robert P. Tapella said that at the current rate, "US publishers are not prepared, at this point, for another unexpected event and may be forced to use lowercase letters in reporting major headlines.  Something must be done, Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat." 

A report to the full committee is due out next week. 

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