Why the world needs newspapers more than ever

Man with newspaper

Today’s world runs on ideas, spread by the Series of Tubes–and those ideas are made of words.

At the foundation of this pyramid of words and ideas sits an endangered species: newspapers.

Television, radio, blogs and half the interwebs wouldn’t function if they couldn’t crib from papers of news, where the whole food web of information starts.

Don’t believe me? Watch this bit from John Oliver, who shows that while it’s easy and amusing to make fun of something for 10 seconds (John Stewart and every late night talk show host), it takes serious skill to dive deep into important issues without losing your audience. The man is brilliant.

I got started at papers, back when they were financially healthy and the web didn’t really exist. So this hits me in the gut.

Most of my fellow journalism majors left the profession, not because they wanted to, but because they had to support their family and pay the mortgage.

What’s happened to newspapers is tragic. The quality of the facts, ideas and opinions talked about every day come from the mass media–and all those things get their start at newspapers before being amplified on cable news, web sites and radio.

Healthy newspapers are critical for everybody living on the third rock from the sun. Free press, democracy and personal liberty go hand-in-hand-in-hand.

More than ever before, we need newspapers full of scrappy journalists and smart columnists. People who’ll dig into issues and get to the truth. Because if newspapers die a slow death, all we’ll be left with are talking heads shouting past each other on CNN, FOX and Twitter–and that won’t get us anywhere.

3 thoughts on “Why the world needs newspapers more than ever

  1. There is no (well not much) substance to most news coverage outside of print. Newspapers are the only medium that can provide in depth and sound analysis. They don’t always do this, but they have the ability to. And the battery never runs out when you are trying to read them.

    Internet clickbait simply trivialises too much and most news sites are so shallow and uninformative that you might as well go and read a good book instead.

    I could rant on for ages…but I won’t.

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  2. Well said. I’ve been a journalist for nearly 20 years, now as a freelancer. I did not leave because of lack of respect for newspapers. They indeed are necessary. Detroit’s legally challenged former mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, would still be in office had it not been for the investigative reporting of several diligent newspeople.

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