I can’t believe I’m actually saying this but ~back in my day~
I remember being excited for the Sunday newspaper so I can skip over to the comics and incoming movies section. Spider-man and Calvin and Hobbes were definite highlights to read, and seeing those editorial cartoons that poke fun at the state of politics blew my mind as a kid (even though I didn’t understand the *very* mature punchlines). Alternatively, convincing my parents to catch the next screening of whatever film had the coolest-looking poster in the print was an experience I never got bored of.
Now that I’m all grown up, having graduated college, and pursuing a career in writing, I’m still the nerdy dude who is deeply fascinated with pop culture because of what newspapers showed me all those years ago.
It just doesn’t hit the same anymore.
Now, I’m not one of those people who included the morning paper in their daily coffee routine. I’m not that old. But it was fun to sit by my parents and wait for their snarky comments with every headline they pass. How else do you think I found out that *some* political slogans don’t mean what they say?
Nowadays, it’s just sharing articles online. While yes, I agree that it is a much more efficient way to spread information since everyone has an electronic device. It also loses the weight newspapers give when it comes to the content you’re seeing.
“Truth is a point of view, but authenticity can’t be faked.” – Peter Guber
When something is being talked about in the newspaper, you know it was a big deal. Before that paper can reach your hands, it had to go through multiple writers, editors, fact-checkers, and revisions. Today, some random joe can write about how medicine meant to de-worm a horse can help cure a pandemic-causing infectious disease and people will believe it just because the writer said “dude trust me.” Newspapers gave that sense of security with the information it was giving to the people. It was the gatekeeper of fake news before it lived in our online news feeds rent-free.
“Technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master.” – Christian Lous Lange
In the US back in 2020, no major newspaper circulated more than a million copies daily. This was the lowest it has ever been since 1940. Only 3% of the citizens get their daily news from print. 28% of daily newspapers have closed down which is a total of 488 publications in 50 years. These are all just in America alone.
The numbers don’t lie, newspapers are disappearing and it’s all because of what you’re looking at right now.
Paul Gillin, operator of the Web site Newspaper Death Watch (a little bit on the nose don’t you think?) says that “In an electronically mediated world, where frictionless access to information is the norm, the high fixed cost of print publishing makes the major metro newspaper business model unsustainable.”
Print fell out of fame, instant gratification is the new face of the game.
It’s just not profitable anymore. People didn’t have to pay and wait for a newspaper delivery when they can just boot up Google and search for whatever they wanted.
Companies realized that their ads can be better seen on Facebook. Schmucks like me found out that clicking the upload button was a million times faster than mailing my piece to an editor and waiting 2 months for them to reply and say “this is cr*p.”
Black and White
Newspapers thought they were invincible, but the sign of the times called for them to slowly evolve into a digital code. Sure, you can still consume well-written content in places such as Medium, Bloomberg, NYTimes, and Rappler, but you can’t deny the charm of receiving that roll of paper and seeing what’s up with the world today.
While there are still some out there that prefer print to give them their daily 411, millions more prefer to receive a digital newsletter. Yes, just like you.