Saturday, August 16, 2014

Newspapers - Today Yesterday and possibly Tomorrow

Having for many years going back even to early days at  Beaumont (boarding school)  been an avid reader of national newspapers, the ending of their regular delivery to the maytrees' family home following the change of my workplace, has had an interesting effect on family members which overall might be slightly  positive for today's  newspaper publishers.

Mrs maytrees finds breakfast less satisfactory without a daily newspaper to read. Maytrees max is the same though he uses the previous evening's Evening Standard as a substitute; maytrees ma is of course in her own home with her  caring for baby Emma probably taking over from morning newspapers at present  in any event. Maytrees mi  who is shortly also acquiring his own flat, expresses no concern and is probably content to read the news on the internet. Maytrees min has never been much  of a newspaper reader so is untroubled.

During the working week I have never had sufficient time to read newspapers in depth in any event so now find  reading  the free Evening Standard on the commute home from Waterloo coupled with a little internet reading for example of the BBC news together with the 10pm news on radio or TV sufficient   for week days.

Week ends are quite another matter however. Reading perhaps the Independent over coffee on Saturday mornings and say looking at the Guardian magazine are fast become very pleasant family rituals  and ways to unwind from the working week when no urgent tasks present themselves - not that the news sections of the papers these days contain much news that is anything but tragic.

Strangely although I recollect reading the very first Sunday Times Sunday magazine when this was  published in the 1960s I do not find C21 Times newspapers as attractive to read today as  the left of centre Indy and Observer  for example. Possibly as my political leanings tend to be right of centre compared with the left of political centre of those publications, my interest arises from the contrast. I rarely agree with their comments though often  find their writing styles attractive photography excellent and editorial points  even the many with which I thoroughly disagree, well made.

The demise of the News of the World I found interesting. Apart from occasions when clients featured in that publication's pages I never read its pages. The fact that it had a vast number of readers six or seven million as I recall who were presumably attracted to its gossip I could never really understand. As it turns out,  some if not much, of the gossip was obtained by  questionable means such as phone tapping. For the millions of former NoW readers who regularly bought and read those gossip columns, the ways in which such gossip was secured cannot really have come as an huge surprise. However the police and other public authorities have hounded journalists even causing that publication to close but the vast number of readers whose payments for the NoW doubtless incentivised the phone tapping etc are left alone. That logic seems, to me anyway, odd and surely there is some hypocrisy involved. The phone tapping would almost certainly not have occurred but for the newspaper paying readers.

Given the greater enthusiasm for the physical newspaper by the older generation,  I wonder if the future of news reading lies  with the internet. Personally, though the internet is almost cost free and very convenient, I find  in depth news reading of real newspapers far more attractive than internet reading, especially as skimming internet pages is  rather easier and more common than skimming hard copy newspaper pages.

One can only speculate , but there must surely always be room for  serious hard copy newspapers.

My guess is that hard copy newspapers without some real  and serious  niche are at risk but those with attractive in depth reporting and commentary sections will survive and thrive - I hope so anyway


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