We’re all newspaper people
Over the years, we’ve all noticed that: Radio was killed off by cinema. Movies were then killed by TV. Television was wiped out by video cartridges. And VCRs were destroyed by DVDs. Vinyl succumbed to cassettes, which in turn were killed off by CDs. CDs themselves fell under multiple streaming sites. E-books have ended hard-copy books (which mysteriously increased 17% over ebook sales last year); flaming fake news has built social media, and now real news is hammering social media.
Finally, another great story in this history lesson: newspapers and magazines have been killed by Facebook and Google. This is Google’s favourite story; it’s their license to print money.
Over the past month, I’ve counted that our household has “gone zombie”: using dead radio 28 days, several movies, five television series, a VCR that WE couldn’t get to work, and two DVDs. We have a turntable, with vinyl records that a friend would die to obtain, plus a million CDs in the car. We’ve planned summer holidays, using two glossy magazines (subscribed) and one site. One paper newspaper, every day. Printed books? Ditto -- every day. Remember Twain’s remark about rumours of his death being exaggerated.
Yes, all media have taken a hit of varying intensity – that’s progress! But there’s a loss here; media are consumer goods – newspapers generate jobs, pay taxes, and put money into the economy. Facebook doesn’t. Media of all eras are recovering from the e-challenge, and many are using the very technologies that claim to be killing them. This newspaper, for example, has completely changed its production processes. Its community dedication and support haven’t changed -- which doesn’t even exist in the googley world.
Media adapt, and continue growing, because they fulfil a social and economic function; they have an audience that likes and depends upon them. Have any media really died? Beta tapes, maybe. Telegraph.
So when we hear that “print is dead”, we should glance into the recycle bins full of newsprint! All levels of government report recycling increases; all claim it’s newsprint. Then announce they’ll buy ads from Google & Facebook -- in California -- because “newspapers aren’t popular”. Newspapers rock the boat, is what they mean to say. Newspapers get people thinking and talking out loud. The CAQ letter to the editor on the opposite page explains this nicely.
Newspapers plus e-versions fulfil their function even better than some newer technologies; they are local AND investigative, they are fact-checked AND proof-read; they report AND analyze important local issues. Papers fill multiple functions, from wrapping compost to creating THE historical record of our era -- each edition lasts into history. Will Trudeau’s Facebook announcements and selfies last into history?
Some media have declined from incompetence – media owned by disinterested investment corporations. Greed has driven many into decline; the Chicago Tribune’s story is instructive! Or Canada’s Postmedia news-papers, now owned by New York investors.
There’s no better way to reach real, local people and consumers. That’s why news-papers survive. Media doesn’t die, it evolves and grows stronger.