By kate on November 1st, 2005
I began this entry as a response to Christian’s blog post, “Newspapers Die By Their Own Ignorance.” When I realized how long it was getting, I decided to put it here instead…
I beg to differ (with Christian’s point). As a daily newspaper reader for most of my life (still am today), I dispute the fact that newspapers are obsolete. It’s too easy to spout the argument that paper should be buried with the dinosaurs, join the 21st century, blah blah blah. There’s still a lot of value in reading an actual newspaper.
Today, I can choose between sitting in my armchair every morning and reading news online (Steve’s choice), or reading the newspaper (my choice). I think it’s going to be a long time, if ever, before screens match paper’s ability to fit so much into a single large page (for easier and quicker absorption of news). That’s not to mention that it’s just nicer and better for my eyes not to add another forty-five minutes of screen-staring to my day.
I also find the newspaper to be the best source of local news. Unlike the uber-mobile people billg (a respondent to Christian’s post) mentions, I have roots here in Seattle and am interested in local happenings. I think it’s valuable to have people who are paid full-time to keep an eye on things around town (from events to politics to nightlife) and tell us what they find out.
I appreciate the editorial judgment of a newspaper. Let’s be honest – when most of us read news on the internet, we click only on links to headlines that interest us. This narrows our scope. In a newspaper, I at least skim every section, even business and sports (not my favorite topics); this broadens my horizons and makes me better informed. (This is the same reason I like to listen to KEXP. I don’t want to rely only on my own sense of what is good or important or interesting. I want others to have input, particularly others whose job it is to be well-informed.)
Finally, Christian’s point that investigative journalism is withering is simply not true. I’ll get into specifics in a minute, but think about what earns newspapers awards. If a newspaper earns a Pulitzer Prize, they can brag about that and use it to sell newspapers and get advertisers. It’s important to their bottom line as well as their moral code.
Over the last year or so, I’ve read important and influential investigative stories in both the Seattle Times and Seattle P-I. Here are some examples, all of which were originally investigated and broken by the newspaper listed:
That’s not a complete list, either, but I think you get the point. All in all, I’ve chosen to trust a (carefully chosen) local newspaper to keep me informed about what’s happening in the world and at home. I hope there are enough people like me out there to keep the newspapers going for a long time to come.
Filed under: current events, media, reading
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