Are Newspapers dying?
Please say it ain't so. I have loved newspapers since childhood. I remember back in the late 50's and early 60's when as school children we would have to clip out an article on certain days to present before the class for current events. I would scour the depths of the paper to find some bizarre ariticle that I was sure no one else would be presenting. I would read the daily funnies and work the crossword puzzles. The newspaper provided me hours of entertainment, enjoyment, and education.
Back when I was in high school and college, one might have thought I was in danger of becoming one of those packrat whackos that you read about who have a house filled with stacks of newspapers. Indeed, I had two stacks: the papers that I still needed to read (I read nearly everything in the paper and would often get behind) and the papers I needed to take to the recycling center (I was into recycling before it was fashionable, I saved newspapers because you could get money for the used newsprint). Reading newspapers was one of my favorite forms of recreation.
Clipping news articles was also a hobby of sorts. I would look for unusual articles for story ideas, clip them, and save them. I still have a file drawer reserved for these articles and even now sometimes add new articles to the file. The newspaper was such a wonderful source for current information, as well as interesting features. The newspaper was written for us--the people.
What happened? I think newspapers lost sight of the original intended mission. They are supposed to be feeding the populace --expressing the "vox populi". Of course the papers often espoused certain agendas, but they were something in which the masses were interested and could get behind. And there has always been some media manipulation and scandulous behavior, but that was part of the game too. It was all broadscale and bigger than life when it came to some of the front page and editorials and that was part of the fun. Now the agendas have often become narrower and less savory to most readers.
Why read the paper for news when all of the news can be found instantly on TV, radio, and the internet? For that matter, the internet has it all -- recipes, movie reviews, commentary, sports, and anything else that we used to go to the newspaper to get. Even coupons-- you can't find as many coupons in the paper as you used to and now they come via email or are found on internet sites. Or classifieds-- why advertise in the paper when you've got resources like Craigslist or the mailout adzines like the PennySaver.
The newspaper stopped serving me years ago. I now only get the L.A Times week-end editons delivered (they throw in Thursday at no charge) and that's only for the crosswords, Sunday coupon sections, and entertainment section. I have the extra bonus of some occasionally interesting articles, but I would never miss them if I didn't have them. The Times does not speak to me. In fact it condemns much of what I believe and does not address most of my interests. Instead the Times promotes agendas which I am against and lifestyles that are not mine. Even the restaurant and travel reviews --it might occasionally be interesting to read about places where the meals are $100 a person or rooms are $500 a night, but those are not the types of places that fit my budget. Please--speak to me. Are those people you are speaking to really reading your boring rag?
In my opinion, newspapers as we have known them in the past are dead. They will keep getting smaller and smaller until the big ones are essentially gone or somehow migrated to the internet as they are doing now. In the future I think we will see more localized community papers, more special interest papers, and smaller agenda driven papers. All of these are out there now and have been for years. But now they will be all there is. The days of the newspaper with a huge circulation are going to be over in the near future.
What do you think? Am I right or wrong on this? Where do you get most of your news and information now? Will you miss the newspaper? What do you like about newspapers and what do you dislike? Do you have a good local paper that you enjoy? Does anyone reading this now work for a newpaper, and if so what is your view?