Saturday, January 05, 2013

Goodbye newspapers

Starting 2013, I took the decision of stopping a dead tree newspaper from being delivered to my home. Why? A bunch of reasons, a small fraction of that was environmental, a small fraction political, but the large part of it was irrelevance of the newspaper in these days of pervasive media and news and the way a newspaper is created.
The newspaper (and the New York Times says - all the news that is fit to print), is created by a set of people who decide what the big story of the day should be. Whether that is a nuclear disaster in Japan or Barack Obama winning in USA or yet another cricket match. And so on. Ultimately, I get to see news that is decided by a set of people as 'deemed' news. In these days of social media and the internet, that is passe. And remember, the internet has no size restriction, like pages nor an advertisement roadblock - and it has a memory. What better place for a news junkie? Ultimately, a newspaper is but a small segment of news that is available out there, out of which a smaller portion serves my interests. And other than that, it is a lot of  'paid news and advertisements' and page 3 junk that I can do without.

My twitter feed and my google reader largely serves my news puuposes and over the past couple of years, I have seen that newspapers are way behind this curve.

If you are looking at a newspaper for ideas, well, those ideas have long since made their appearance on social media, on blogs before finding their way to a newspaper.

And news, well, the newspapers production cycle lags behind even their websites. So, news and ideas are stale.

What is left? Marketing. Well, that is something I can do without.

Opinions and Editorials - well, frankly, the internet is a far better place to get editorials and opinions - direct and indirect. Over the last few years, quite a few good blogs and great twitter feeds have educated me far more than a newspaper. Two sites of interest, Centreright and Niticentral, among other things.

The last, and perhaps most important point, is that a lot of places on the internet, serve the news in a far more unbiased manner than newspapers purport to bring out. Newspapers and those who run it, over the past few years, have demonstrated  that their interests lie in serving their advertisers and the political powers that be than in really, printing the truth. Of late there have been instances, where newspapers also refuse to call out lack of journalistic ethics in another publication or lack of ethics by a member of the journalist fraternity or refuse to cover misdeeds of relatives of powerful and influential politicians or advertisers. The list goes on and on...

And for all this, do I need a dead tree delivered at my doorstep each day? So, it is end of an era of newspapers delivered at my door...

3 comments:

The Bangalorean said...

It's interesting that you think of newspapers as a vehicle solely for "edit room" news. I stopped thinking of them that way long ago. For instance, I don't anticipate stopping my subscription to the Times of India - I don't read a single piece of "news" in the newspaper. But it's the largest vehicle of commercial information about the city I live in via the humongous number of ads it carries - which gives me invaluable information on what new products and services companies are launching, what new retail stores are opening up, what deals are on currently, what events are forthcoming, public service announcements from the administration and so on and so forth. No source on the internet, at least in India, replicates the breadth and wealth of this local information as the newspaper still does. I understand this is a vicious circle - more circulation drives more ads drives more circulation (at least for people who's sole use of the broadsheet is what I described above), regardless of the utility or quality of the primary piece of information the vehicle purports to disseminate - news.

Manish Kothawade said...

1. Newspaper has zero latency while turning pages.
2. The internet has no size restriction - and it is a problem. I want to read news paper in fixed time duration and so I want size restriction.
3. Newspaper gives me news across different segments - national, international, local, tech, jobs, business. It is good to discover what is happening around the world. If you subscribe to news feed using blogs, most probably you will read the news which 'interests' you the most.
4. point 2 and 3 can certainly be copied on internet. In fact, e-paper is just a digital replica of print edition. But its latency is not so good. It is irritating to scroll on small computer screen.

Please let me know which blogs/websites you use for reading news and 'discovering' news.

Manish Kothawade said...

1. Newspaper has zero latency while turning pages.
2. The internet has no size restriction - and it is a problem. I want to read news paper in fixed time duration and so I want size restriction.
3. Newspaper gives me news across different segments - national, international, local, tech, jobs, business. It is good to discover what is happening around the world. If you subscribe to news feed using blogs, most probably you will read the news which 'interests' you the most.
4. point 2 and 3 can certainly be copied on internet. In fact, e-paper is just a digital replica of print edition. But its latency is not so good. It is irritating to scroll on small computer screen.

Please let me know which blogs/websites you use for reading news and 'discovering' news.