Thursday, June 30, 2011

On the Demise of Newspapers

I won't pretend I have anything new or interesting to say about this topic. Print culture is dying, and no one is reading newspapers anymore, and more and more are folding under as the days pass. The usual things can be said.

But the things is, print culture isn't dying. People are going to read books. People are going to want news. And maybe, yes, the morning paper over coffee isn't what it used to be. And maybe, yes, more people are reading on their stupid iPads and phones and online, even though it hurts their eyes.

Today, I tried to open a New York Times article at work, and it seems that this IP address has already used its allotted twenty free articles this month. Twenty. My problem isn't with paying for the newspaper. Or the fact that a subscription is--for most media--necessary.

Actually, wait. My problem is with paying for the newspaper. I understand, fundamentally and integrally, that print costs money. Newsprint, newsreels, people to operate the machines as they spin around, spitting out hot paper and ink, there are costs involved with that. And there are costs involved with reporters, and servers to run But what really makes it difficult for me to swallow is the restriction of information, to those with means and access and money. Sure, I could pay 99 cents for four weeks' worth of unlimited access (including a free iPhone app!).

And someday, I'm sure I will. I'll buy the newspaper, and I'll donate money to Planned Parenthood and to public radio and the National Endowment for the Arts, and I'll make sure I only buy local produce, in order to support my community's farmers and also to reduce my carbon footprint. But for now, while I'm pinching pennies and packing my lunches with cheap leftovers, I'll go to BBC for my news, thank you very much.

No comments: