Jump to content


This site uses cookies. By using this site, you agree to accept cookies, unless you've opted out. (US government web page with instructions to opt out: http://www.usa.gov/optout-instructions.shtml)

Goodbye to newspapers?


  • Please log in to reply
26 replies to this topic

#1 dirac

dirac

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 25,482 posts

Posted 01 November 2005 - 12:07 PM

Newspapers experiencing a very bad year, according to the MediaDailyNews.

http://publications....e&art_aid=35690

Even so, this good news is scant relief for an industry besieged by flat ad revenues, falling stocks, and fleeing subscribers. Last week, Rishad Tobaccowala, chief innovation officer for Publicis Groupe, told a newspaper--the Chicago Tribune--"newspapers are at a tipping point," in which online media will start to take more readership and more ad dollars. He added that newspapers are in the worst situation of all news media for growth as "the least visually engaging and least youth oriented" medium.


Most of the nice free news we get from the internet is from those boring old papers nobody wants to read. (Ballet Talk Links, for example.) Maybe they’re not all that “visually engaging” but for browsing through the news you want (and news you didn’t think you wanted until you just happened to see it) they’re still the best thing going. That’s hardly surprising – papers have had centuries to work out how to present information in a readable and helpful way and the net is just starting, really.

It does take time to get into the habit of reading the daily paper – I didn’t really start until college – but I do think that the internet isn’t yet ready to replace hard copies entirely. It may be true that papers are doomed. But we don’t yet have an adequate replacement for them.

#2 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,320 posts

Posted 01 November 2005 - 12:53 PM

I realize this doesn't relate to ballet writing, but ...

Widespread newspaper reading is a relatively recent phenomenon (late 19th century in the biggest cities). And not until the 20th century did newspapers become a daily necessity for members of all social classes.

The newspaper as we know it flourished in a time when literacy was expanding, when reading was considered the single most important key to socioeconomic advancement and had a higher status than it does today. Nowadays, people are no longer ashamed to admit that they rarely read. Having "no time to read" seems actually to be something to be proud of. Similarly, pride in admitting that one learns primarily by hearing rather than reading -- usually associated with pre-literate societies -- is very much in vogue with the young.

Daily newspapers (both morning and afternoon) were suited to commuting to work by public transportation and are quite inefficient for those who commute by car. And, they came in a variety of formats (including tabloids) and vocabulary levels that catered to different social classes, political parties, levels of education, etc. This year several British newspapers, including the Guardian and Financial Times, I believe, have experimented "down-sizing" their papers to a size even smaller than the traditional tabloid, in the hopes readers will find them more convenient for carrying and storing.

If, as the article suggests, being "visually engaging" and "youth oriented" is the key to newspaper survival, they have a very difficult task ahead of them. TV will always had advantage in both areas.

#3 Paul Parish

Paul Parish

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,925 posts

Posted 01 November 2005 - 01:12 PM

Taking this topic up by its smallest handle, I'd like to add that the newspapers and magazines of the burgeoning middle classes of the nineteenth century took many skills for granted among those who COULD read and were hungry for something to passhte time -- in particular, MUSIC was published in magazines, like chess and bridge and crossword puzzles.... if you could read, you could probably read music -- the radio was an instrument like a piano, but it could read the music for you, and time was freed up from practising to keep your fingers dextrous, so of course interest broadened and maybe got shallower (but the kinds of music in the magazines were just thenew tangos and such, nothing very difficult -- though in THAT respect there's great music that's not difficult technically -- some Chopin preludes and mazurkas are not hard to get your fingers round, and much of Mozart -- though the hard thing about playing Mozart's piano sonatas is that there are not enough notes, so every one that IS there must be played exquisitely)......

sorry, I'm rambling all over the place.....

the cool and really valuable thing about print is that you can take it with you and when you get there you STILL HAVE IT --

video tape fails, cds and dvds can lose all their info in a flash -- but books are there until they burn or you throw them away.... if of course you can FIND them in the mountain of paper.

(I've been shoveling off my desk for the last several days, down to bare wood in places.)

#4 carbro

carbro

    Late Board Registrar

  • Rest in Peace
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,361 posts

Posted 01 November 2005 - 02:21 PM

I admit to rarely buying midweek papers, relying largely on the net and NPR for most of my news. I have an aversion to throwing out unread reading matter, and in a New York apartment, well . . .

I do miss the seredipity of that unexpected article which I'd only find by flipping pages. But in terms of each day's -- okay, each week's -- major stories, I don't feel I miss a whole lot. Except the crossword, which is a premium feature at NYTimes.com. But I buy the books. :P

Come to think of it, I rarely do crosswords anymore, since I got internet access, except when travelling.

#5 Quiggin

Quiggin

    Gold Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 839 posts

Posted 01 November 2005 - 03:27 PM

Here's a lovable rant from Propect that intersects with this topic from a little different angle. You only have to compare the arts coverage in the NYT Sunday Times to that of ten or fifteen years ago to arrive at a US version of this complaint.

http://www.prospectm...ils.php?id=7086

[In the old days...] Every single debutant at the Wigmore Hall was reviewed, every new play at the Bush or the Theatre Upstairs or the ICA. London is still the music capital of the world; in those days, the arts pages, led by the FT, treated it as such. Lord Drogheda was chairman not only of the FT, but also of the Royal Opera House. When looking for the paper's first music critic in the early 1950s, he found Andrew Porter, a critic of an authority and brilliance to rival George Bernard Shaw and Ernest Newman. There is no one else quite like Porter, who today writes mainly in the Times Literary Supplement. Great critics are rare birds; rare birds, though, need a welcoming aviary, and the zookeepers are not on the lookout for such special—and specialist—breeds of plumage any more...

But the truth is that newspapers increasingly devote largely uncritical coverage to the latest product of the publicity machine, be it an inexperienced actress, a media loudmouth or a Glasgow pop group. Previews and interviews now take precedence over critical responsibility. But the idea that they do so in order to meet a public demand is, I believe, false. Anyone under the age of 30 who wants to read about pop music, new film and reality television knows where to go. That place is not the broadsheets, but magazines and the internet. So the liberal, professional intelligentsia who read the broadsheets are confronted with coverage they don't want and comment on "high culture" by people who often know less about it than they do.



#6 dirac

dirac

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 25,482 posts

Posted 01 November 2005 - 05:13 PM

Thank you for that, Quiggin. Good article. The papers’ desperation to reach new and younger readers is directly responsible for the general decline and disappearance of serious arts coverage, and the young, from all reports, don’t care. However, the author of that article doesn't allow for the fact that the papers do have to try something. Otherwise, their readership will continue to age and gradually drop off, and there will be no young eyeballs to replace the old ones.

(Regarding the NY Times’ arts coverage, in the fairly recent past the paper’s popular culture coverage was indeed notoriously clueless (now it’s just intermittently clueless) and they were right to try to correct the balance. They just went too far in the other direction.)

I do feel an obligation to take a subscription to the paper I read every day, the NY Times national issue in my case, and I also take a subscription to my town paper as a public spirited gesture even if I don’t get to it every day. Most people may not want to go this far, I realize, but I do feel an obligation to subsidize in some way the publications that give me most of my news whether I read it or get it off the net.

Bart raises some interesting points – it may be that people are no longer willing to take the thirty to forty five minutes it takes to read a paper like the Times properly, and the social changes and impulses that led to the widespread newspaper habit are giving way to changes that work against that same habit. It’s true that the afternoon papers are virtually gone, killed by TV news (and now the early evening news broadcasts that killed those papers is threatened by cable news and the internet).

#7 kfw

kfw

    Sapphire Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,320 posts

Posted 01 November 2005 - 06:35 PM

Bart raises some interesting points – it may be that people are no longer willing to take the thirty to forty five minutes it takes to read a paper like the Times properly, and the social changes and impulses that led to the widespread newspaper habit are giving way to changes that work against that same habit. 

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Those changes we're experiencing, that availability of instant, up to date news and, a moment later, more up to up date news -- and 1400 sources for it to boot -- clearly work against thoughtful, reflective reading, and just maybe this is contributing to the current cultural and political red state/blue state polarization, rife with unexamined stereotypes/prejudices as it is.

As for me, I grew up loving the feel and smell of paper and of newsprint, and the convenience and stimulation of the 'net can't displace them.

#8 Skittl1321

Skittl1321

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 22 posts

Posted 02 November 2005 - 08:34 AM

I also take a subscription to my town paper as a public spirited gesture even if I don’t get to it every day.  Most people may not want to go this far, I realize, but I do feel an obligation to subsidize in some way the publications that give me most of my news whether I read it or get it off the net.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


In college I read the local paper each day online. I would have loved a print subscription, but our apartment complex did not have onsite recycling because the city would not pick up from apartments. I couldn't handle the masses of paper piling up waiting for me to take it to the recycling center. While I was in college I frequently wrote to the city council in support of apartment pick up (they had curbside pick up for houses) but to no avail. Whenever newspapers would call, I would cite this as my reason for not subscribing. I hope they would see the connection of lack of recycling services to lack of subscribers and also lobby the city. The guilt of throwing away a newspaper everyday - even when the subscription rate was less than a quarter a day- was just to large.

#9 scoop

scoop

    Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPip
  • 88 posts

Posted 02 November 2005 - 01:23 PM

It's hard for me to be objective about this subject (should newspapers disappear so would my paycheck! :blush:), so I hope this doesn't come off as self-serving. These are truly awful times for newspapers -- we're just hemorrhaging money, losing readers, etc -- but I think it's sad situation not just for us. To me, newspapers are one of the few remaining institutions that bind a society that seems ever more splintered. For 50 cents or whatever, whether you're a factory worker or a CEO, you get access to the same information. There's no digital divide. I remember how my parents, when they were new immigrants, just devoured newspapers. It was their gateway.

Something is lost, I think, when entire swaths of a community just don't read a newspaper, and instead get their information from partisan or special interest media. It's troubling that people increasingly seem to be narrowing rather than expanding their worlds.

So now I've totally depressed myself -- maybe I'll just go home sick! :blink:

#10 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,320 posts

Posted 02 November 2005 - 02:36 PM

Something is lost, I think, when entire swaths of a community just don't read a  newspaper, and instead get their information from partisan or special interest media. It's troubling that people increasingly seem to be narrowing rather than expanding their worlds.

With the facts culled and arranged to support the point of view. Very sad indeed.
Any chance of stemming the tide?

#11 dirac

dirac

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 25,482 posts

Posted 02 November 2005 - 02:51 PM

With the facts culled and arranged to support the point of view. Very sad.

indeed.

True, but that’s actually a pretty good description of newspapers before the rise of a)“objective” reporting and b) the monopoly paper. Although I do think that, taking the long view, “objective” journalism -- however flawed in practice -- is superior, the earlier state of affairs had its positive aspects –competition was remarkably intense, and papers tried hard to scoop each other and poke holes in each other’s stories, which was all to the good. “Partisan” doesn’t necessarily mean “inaccurate.” What’s lost when people substitute the net and other media for a newspaper is the depth and detail that kfw mentions. And the other media frequently take their cue and get their information from the major papers.

#12 carbro

carbro

    Late Board Registrar

  • Rest in Peace
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,361 posts

Posted 02 November 2005 - 03:13 PM

Why is NYTimes.com inferior to The New York Times? I mean, other than the aforementioned lost serendipity? The story that is put to bed for the hard copy in the middle of the night is updated to within an hour or two when I get it on the web.

Just because it's electronic doesn't make it inferior. My choice of reading matter is the same. It's the medium that changes. In this case, does McLuhan still hold?

#13 dirac

dirac

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 25,482 posts

Posted 02 November 2005 - 03:53 PM

I’d suggest that the broadsheet version of the paper, at present, is superior to the net in terms of drawing and holding a reader’s attention, particularly for complex stories. (As a West Coast reader of the paper, I’m not really looking for the most up to date information; I’m less concerned with breaking news than with thoroughness and the finer points.)

From the newspaper’s point of view, if you’re looking at a hard copy of the Times, chances are you’ve paid for it, unless you’re in a coffee shop or a library. The Sulzberger family, like the Grahams, are a public spirited group and they accept a smaller profit margin to put out a better paper, but there are limits to everyone’s generosity. :blink:

#14 Helene

Helene

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,330 posts

Posted 02 November 2005 - 04:35 PM

I stopped doing the NY Times Sunday crossword because I didn't want to buy the entire paper and throw 3/4 of it away every week. I now happily peruse the online version and subscribe to their premium crossword service. I even more happily peruse washingtonpost.com. I love that there aren't space constraints on the web and that I can read new articles as they come out.

#15 dirac

dirac

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 25,482 posts

Posted 02 November 2005 - 04:45 PM

For 50 cents or whatever, whether you're a factory worker or a CEO, you get access to the same information. There's no digital divide.


Good point, scoop. The digital divide may disappear or even vanish with time, but we’re nowhere near that point yet.

On the other hand, considering your employment prospects, maybe you'll just be employed differently. Of course, those like kfw and myself who have an atavistic attachment to newsprint will be out of luck (or in the great beyond.:blink:).


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):