Chasing Dying Media: Newsprint

Please read yesterday’s introduction over here. In the coming days I might also share my brief thoughts on magazines, old and new.

Newsprint

Out of all traditional media, newspapers must’ve changed the most. It’s different from location to location, and if you want more specific information I’m sure you can find it yourself, but this seems to be a good starting point.

My personal and biased impression is that physical newspapers up until fifteen years ago had the most integrity. Trained and ethical reporters and journalists wrote and edited, advertising was separated from anything else, and no information was held back based on how “shocking” it was or who paid the most. On the other hand the news rolled in slowly due to the amount of effort that went into producing even a small daily paper. Similar to radio, you were also limited to reading what was available locally a lot of times, although big publications were regularly available in all relevant territories.

Today people get their news online. Digital newspapers (which still operate similarly to their older version), news aggregators and social media is where a large amount of people keep up with current events now. The news arrive fast, often just minutes after they happen, they know no borders other than language, and they’re largely free to read. However, unlike in print, there’s a lot more that can affect what does and doesn’t get to the people. Other than of course governments and the publications themselves there are many more barriers now that allow for censorship and bias.

Without having done any research (this is a blog after all) and having no further background knowledge about the topic, I think not much has changed. The experience of buying a newspaper or getting one delivered daily to later talk about that day’s news with your peers is certainly different from today. You wake up, blast your eyes with a backlit screen or another, and then argue with strangers and shills before eating breakfast or even getting out of bad.

I never had too many connections to newspapers – I preferred the evening news on Television, only buying papers if a topic popped up that I wanted to know more about. Working in a daily production does sound stressful, but there’s also something captivating about it. Given the chance I would certainly take one of the many needed jobs for a while, especially now that the topics handled are often more mellow and fun. Responsible reporting of critically important news just happens elsewhere these days, if at all.

On a related note, my local newspaper seems to enjoy fearmongering the most. The internet is evil, cannabis is the devil, entertainment makes us stupid, young people are the downfall of civilisation, and shaming geeks is one of the last publicly accepted forms of “us versus them”.

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