Paper economies

imageAre you a book reader? Or a digital reader reader?

I’m one of the former. The idea that a human has designed the cover, chosen fonts and paper pleases me enormously. And the concept of a creative process that includes writer, designer and Caxtonesque craftsman all working in harmony to produce a lovely thing I can hold is redolent of the finer aspects of humanity. Best of all, no airborne waitress can tell me to “…switch that off while we take off…”.

I feel the same way about newspapers. The print deadline imposes a content discipline the absence of which makes 24-hour rolling news services a weak and vapid thing of inexcusable dullness. The economics of printed papers are such that each edition must be crisp and attractive because the revenue it encapsulates, if lost, cannot ever be recovered. 24-hour news is based on different economics – of mostly low cost and shareholder value.

Shareholder value has never produced great reporting, or great newspapers.

We all love to loathe Rupert Murdoch but, as Raymond Snoddy points out in the latest edition of the Journalist (see page 17 of the link), he is as committed to newspapers as he always was, even as their days of power are all but over.

Great journalists and great newspapers are, with one or two exceptions – too few anyway – mostly gone. So it’s a rum do when Murdoch’s enthusiasm for newspapers is all that stands between us and ‘sandwich at the desk’ journalists and lobbying bloggers.

Pass me another hardback please, my Nook is flat.

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“Before we all sink into a slough of digital dystopian despair, it might be worth considering this: is this a sign of the strength, not weakness, of revelatory journalism in the digital age?”


Charlie Beckett, director of POLIS at the London School of Economics, reacts to news that the UK government forced the Guardian into destroying hard drives that contained information leaked by Edward Snowden.


(Source: POLIS)

 

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