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Seattle Bubble Forum Archive • View topic - What's so great about daily print newspapers?

What's so great about daily print newspapers?

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What's so great about daily print newspapers?

Postby The Tim » Fri Mar 13, 2009 8:05 am

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Re: What's so great about daily print newspapers?

Postby ira s » Fri Mar 13, 2009 8:18 am

Archaic they may be, but there's something immensely satisfying about folding the printed newspaper in four and doing the crossword puzzle.
Yeah, there are online puzzles, and yeah, newspaper management had their heads in the sand for years, but it's an ethereal thing rather than a practical thing. I could live without a newspaper and probably will. I just don't want to.
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Re: What's so great about daily print newspapers?

Postby Civil Servant » Fri Mar 13, 2009 9:53 am

In part this is a public-policy question. If there are no daily print newspapers, then it becomes more difficult for lower-income people, who don't have regular access to an internet connection, to keep themselves informed to the degree they'd like. Do we have a responsibility to those people not to undertake actions -- or let them happen -- that will both further the existing class divide and make it even more difficult for them eventually to cross it? What's so great about daily newspapers, in this context, is that their ease of accessibility to almost everyone contributes (at least in theory) to a more informed populace, which is assumed to be the desirable social state.

I'm not saying that this is my opinion -- this is just the wonk perspective, to which I've had some exposure.
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Re: What's so great about daily print newspapers?

Postby Lake Hills Renter » Fri Mar 13, 2009 10:21 am

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Re: What's so great about daily print newspapers?

Postby ira s » Fri Mar 13, 2009 10:31 am

So if we gave everybody internet access, gave them a computer, and taught them how to use it, then newspapers would have no usefulness.
So I have to agree strongly with Civil Servant and Lake Hills Renter.
Newspapers have a lot of information, much more so than what you can get from watching television. So if 1/3 of the people out there don't have internet access and get their info from the newspapers, by letting newspapers die we are sitting by idly as the dumbing down of America accelerates.
I know, there's a lot of stupid stuff in the newspapers, but even more on television.
And the internet? That's a colossal warehouse filled with stupid stuff.
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Re: What's so great about daily print newspapers?

Postby sniglet » Fri Mar 13, 2009 11:01 am

I am certainly not one to say we should do anything to stop the changes in society, or the economy, as technology marches forward. However, it is worth pausing for a moment to recognize that some things are irretrevieably lost when we transition to something new. On the whole, things might be better, but there are often some beneficial aspects of the old technologies that are lost forever.

In the move away from print newspapers, for example, we are losing the whole business model that was able to cross-subsidize and fund reporting and content that might not have been able to sustain itself otherwsie. In the new digital mediums, everything has to justify it's existence on it's own right, not by being a part of something else.

So much for all the great articles that Playboy used to publish, now that pornographic officionados can go directly to the pictures on-line and ignore silly stories that just get in the way of their purile pleasure.

Likewise, the decline of the newspaper also means the end of much investigative reporting.

We have already seen how technology publications have HUGELY cut back on in-depth product reviews as their business models have collapsed. It is getting increasingly difficult to find unbiased 3rd party reviews for many items, unless they are posted by a consumer themselves, which is hit and miss.

These things are just going to be the dustbin of history.
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Re: What's so great about daily print newspapers?

Postby The Tim » Fri Mar 13, 2009 11:06 am

Devil's advocate on the "class divide" topic:

Can't people without internet access at home just go to the local library or public university and access the internet for free?

Last I checked, free is cheaper than the $0.75 per day newsstand price of a print paper. And both methods require some effort on the part of the person that can't afford internet access.

If we're talking about people with home delivery of the newspaper, that's about a $20/month cost, compared to dial-up internet services @ $10-$15 a month or high-speed at $30 a month.

In other words, I don't get the "if daily print newspapers disappeared, poor people wouldn't have access to news" argument. Perhaps someone can explain it further for me.
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Re: What's so great about daily print newspapers?

Postby jon » Fri Mar 13, 2009 11:24 am

I suspect the 1/3 figure has more to do with age than with income, and it is a preference for staying with the familiar that keeps them reading print. Beyond a certain age, a transition to online just isn't going to happen, but as people who have already learned to follow the news online get older, they will do fine.

Dropping from 2 newspapers to 1 is not that significant anymore with all the other points of view that are now available online. Dropping from 1 to 0 would be a bigger problem, but we aren't there yet.

It would be great if someone found a way turn a profit from investigative reporting. I think the potential for doing that through an online payment mechanism is more likely that just sticking with print.
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Re: What's so great about daily print newspapers?

Postby Civil Servant » Fri Mar 13, 2009 11:25 am

Devil's response to Tim's question: They can't go to the public library or a local college if they are elderly, infirm, are here illegally and fearful that their use of the internet will lead to them being deported, etc... And as for that 75 cents a day, it's a non-issue: just climb onto a bus in the free zone and scavenge what you want from the papers that morning commuters leave behind. I have a job and my own internet connection, and scavenging is how I get my crossword puzzles.

The issue Sniglet raises is a good one though. Even if newspapers can survive by going fully online, their newly straitened budgets and need to seek efficiences won't allow for a lot of investigative journalism, except perhaps quickie hit pieces. Stuff like this? [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,919328,00.html] Forget it.
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Re: What's so great about daily print newspapers?

Postby SeattleMoose » Fri Mar 13, 2009 11:26 am

I can use newspaper to:

1) Help get a fire going in a fireplace
2) Burn it to keep my hands warm in a "tent city" scenario
3) Read wherever I want (e.g. camping)
4) Keep physical historical records of events (in case the electricity/batteries ever disappear for more than a couple of days)
5) Clip coupons/ads and take them with me to the store
6) Grab it to read on the airplane/bus/etc.

More importantly, with independent and unique printed news media in every town/city of America it is almost impossible for any agency to grab complete control of the news media. However, if all physical newspapers are eliminted, online news sites could end up like "TV news" in that all news is "fed" to them. Saying goodby to printed media is one step closer to total centralization/control. Not a good situtation.

Imagine the future where all print media has long disappeared (everything is now via the internet) and suddenly civilization is thrown back to the stone age and people have to "start over". There will be no electricity, no batteries, but thank God we have all these "how to" books on farming, building, teaching, etc......that is, if they still exist. :(
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Re: What's so great about daily print newspapers?

Postby jon » Fri Mar 13, 2009 11:53 am

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Re: What's so great about daily print newspapers?

Postby Lake Hills Renter » Fri Mar 13, 2009 1:05 pm

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Re: What's so great about daily print newspapers?

Postby Charles Dean » Fri Mar 13, 2009 1:34 pm

One of the main reasons that newspapers are on such hard times right now is one reason and that's Craigslist.

Craigslist gave out for free that which newspapers have had a monopoly on for centuries and that's classified advertising.

Advertising for real estate in print for instance has become wholly ineffective over the last 2-3 years because of this. No one looks for houses in the Times and P-I anymore. Everyone looks online. Either from listings your agent sends you or on windermere.com, themlsonline.com, redfin or craigslist. Almost no one looks in the Times or the little nickel for houses anymore.

For me, I haven't bought a printed newspaper for well over a year. I get all of my news online from about 6-8 different sources, local and national. With internet access, it's far easier I think to find news and different takes on the same story.

Ultimately it does come down to a question of economics. And so the question is, do we want the government bailing out the press? Do we really want state run media?

I mean, sure it's sad to see the newspaper go away. There were I'm sure alot of horse breeders that went out of business as cars became more and more popular.

Print media will likely never completely disappear. However, like television to radio, so the internet is to print media and news. And for that matter, so the internet is to television as well.
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Re: What's so great about daily print newspapers?

Postby The Tim » Fri Mar 13, 2009 1:49 pm

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Re: What's so great about daily print newspapers?

Postby EconE » Fri Mar 13, 2009 1:51 pm

Newspapers help boost hand soap sales.

On a more serious note, I agree with LHR. Not everybody has easy access to a library. It doesn't even have to be rural. Do you know how many buses you might have to take to get to a library in L.A.? If you had a car and drove...your gas cost would be more than $0.75.

But then again, I'm a pinball fan that has never owned a video game console in my life.

Anybody up for a game of "Captain Fantastic"? :D
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