Why I still read newspapers

Every day.

Yep.

Every day.

Yes, they contain yesterday’s news, but don’t kid yourself that news websites in the morning are more current – they are filled with stories the overnight crew took from the next day’s paper, plus some stories from wire services. Each morning, AAP re-writes important stories from the papers and sends them out to both Fairfax and News Ltd, where the online editors pick up the ones the other mob had.

Sure, by mid-morning the news sites will have stuff that happened that morning, but it’ll usually be about accidents and crime. Yawn.

Don’t get me wrong, I think news sites have an amazing set of tools for story telling, but when’s the last time you saw a good online news story? When’s the last time you saw a news website consistently doing interesting things with news stories? Because, in my opinion, putting a cool graphic or interactive map in a story every now and then doesn’t excuse the rest of the mediocre offerings that we have to put up with, day after day.

Anyway, the main reason I still read newspapers is because they’re put together by editors with decades of experience as journalists, and they are structured to lead you through them, to see stories you wouldn’t normally be interested in.

News websites are put together by editors with less than a decade of experience as journalists, who chase the ‘most popular’ list instead of using editorial judgement. You don’t learn anything about ‘us’ as a nation or as a city by looking at a news site. Because, for fuck’s sake, do we really need to know about every car accident and every pedophile arrest?

8 responses to “Why I still read newspapers

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Why I still read newspapers « the news with nipples -- Topsy.com

  2. All good points. This post could equally be titled: “Why I stopped reading mainstream news websites”.

    While your point that the papers are more likely to contain actual news (perhaps a good strategic move for companies that want people to buy the papers), I wonder how much the online drive towards the sensationalist – as much as it increases revenue – ultimately damages the brand of the masthead, especially for teens, twentysomethings and early-thirtysomethings, who mostly get their news online.

    If I mostly access X or Y masthead through their website, and their website rarely offers me any useful information as to what the news of the day is (and let’s face it, this is often the case), I begin to assume that X or Y is a sub-par news organisation, and stop paying attention to what they have to say almost altogether.

    • Ah, but you’re assuming that news organisations care about their online brand, and I don’t see any evidence of this whatsoever. Look at smh.com.au versus the paper. I’m a rusted on Herald reader but their website is rubbish. I only use the website to link to stories I’m blogging about – stories I read in the paper.

      Online editors and the news organisations who pay them seem to only care about clicks/page impressions/unique browers, and to get more and more clicks they become more and more sensationalist. But look at the Fin Review: people want it and feel it’s worth paying for, because it’s filled with good journalism, not just one-voice stories from AAP.

      • You’re right, they probably don’t care. My point is that they should. When I see a news website that’s consistently crap, I assume (apparently falsely) that the news organisation itself is sub-par as well. I’m sure I’m not alone in this, especially amongst people who get most of their information online.

        • Of course they should care. Everything I’m reading at the moment for my doctorate points to interest in news being at an all-time high, yet mainstream media outlets are struggling for eyeballs. My feeling is that they’ve spectacularly misjudged their audience. Newspapers have been dumbing down for years, yet readers keep leaving, and no one has linked the two?

  3. I love my daily coffee and newspaper ritual. I’m afraid I am now at the age when the obituaries hold the greatest lure. I just find that with a paper I see more to read and that the online versions are so narrow by comparison.

  4. Pingback: We should demand something better than this | the news with nipples

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