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The plight of print journalism
The calibre of writing has slowly deteriorated over the years. For instance, if you look at the average news story in the local newspaper you'll notice it takes them forever to get to the point. Further, news reporting has become less objective

I RECENTLY heard that print journalism is in trouble. Newspapers which have long been familiar to us have been shaken to their foundations. You hear stories about the major newspapers teetering on financial ruin. As a small example, years ago in the computer industry there were numerous publications aimed at reporting news and discussing issues pertaining to technology. Today, the industry is totally devoid of such publications. Instead, everything is done by web sites and e-mail blasts.

Unlike the older generation, which was accustomed to reading the newspaper over a cup of coffee, we, the young generation get their news through television or their BlackBerry, iPhone or some other electronic device. People like to blame technology for the demise of print journalism, but I believe it goes much deeper than that. I say it is simply content.

The calibre of writing has slowly deteriorated over the years. For example, if you look at the average news story in the local newspaper you’ll notice it takes them forever to get to the point. Further, news reporting has become less objective and more slanted towards a particular political agenda. Whereas I used to enjoy devouring the morning paper, I now frequently cast it aside and put on the television instead. I can’t say I am particularly fond of television news either, but at least they try to get to the point and I have a remote control to change the channel.

In addition to basic news reporting, newspapers seem to be having difficulty with simple layout. People generally don’t like to constantly search for their favourite sections. They want standard sections where they know they can find things easily and comfortably. I don’t believe people have problems with advertisements, after all they realize it supports production costs. They just want more content. I’ve seen instances where you might get one column of news and everything else is advertising. There should be some sort of rule prohibiting no more than 50 per cent advertising on any given page unless the whole page is devoted to advertising. There should also be no advertising whatsoever on the cover page of a newspaper.

No, I don’t blame technology at all for the demise of the newspaper. What are needed are some unbiased news reporters who know how to produce an honest and newsworthy story, and editors and publishers who know something about layout. Years ago, people were proud to be called a newspaper man or woman; it meant something, like integrity. But lately it has evolved into nothing more than a glorified blog. No wonder newspapers are on the way out.

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