Norman Giller, a well-respected UK football journalist recently said that he stands by his previous claim that his 10-year-old grandson will never read a newspaper. This statement would have seemed crazy just 15 years ago, but with newspapers switching to online versions due to the increased speed in which consumers want the news, it no longer does, it’s expected.
In England one of the longest standing national publications, The Independent, no longer sells physical copies, while many more are predicted to follow suit in the next few years. To create cash flow, some offer a subscription service while others such as The Guardian, beg for your money mid-way through articles. News is old news by the time it’s published in a newspaper, and this is reflected in sales, so why are newspapers still produced?
The feeling of holding one, like that of holding a book is unique and why consumers still haven’t completely switched to Kindle’s, or similar products. They also like the process, most read the newspaper over breakfast and have done for years. They enjoy it, so why stop? Tablets, phones, computers are all easily accessible to most but staring at a small screen to get your news doesn’t scream out tradition like sitting in a café sipping a morning coffee while reading a huge broadsheet.
When you pick up a newspaper, you are holding in your hand all the news, that isn’t the case with an online version. Beyond the landing page, you have to search for what you want to read, into different tabs. You can never finish a website like you can finish a newspaper.
There’s something nice about holding a freshly bought newspaper too. The pages are crisp and easy to turn. The colour from the photo’s jump off the page while you scan the articles looking for something to read. But then a few hours later, after the paper has done a circle of the office or the family room and it returns, a doomed feeling can take over. The newspaper having been immaculately folded when leaving your hands, is now in tatters. Pages are ripped, crumpled or even worse, missing, the ink has smudged, and this paper has had its day. It’s time to be binned.
But maybe this is a nice thing about newspapers, it’s all part of the process, a process a 10-year-old in England, and others around the world possibly will never partake in.