Newspapers versus online news

The Z Man [H/T Chuckles] writes on newspapers versus online news and you can read that here. As usual, comments were interesting:

#  James LePore

When I called the NY Times in 2000 to cancel my subscription, the gal on the phone asked me why I was cancelling. I told her because the Times didn’t even pretend any more that it was an objective newspaper, that it had become an out-and-out propaganda sheet. There was a pause. I asked the gal if she was writing that down. She said no, she heard it all the time.

#  Dutch

On-line, when the BS meter goes off, you can be gone, immediately, no questions asked. Or if you suspect BS, never call up the site in the first place. It takes more than a moment of frustration over the BS in print to unsubscribe. Instead the paper keeps coming, but it gets read less and less. Eventually, you don’t renew it.

Then the paper’s rep calls and offers a year delivered for $10 or something. OK, why not? So, of the people still subscribing, how many are at cheapo subscription rates, and what percentage of those papers generally go from driveway to recycling without ever being looked at?

On-line, when the BS meter goes off, you can be gone, immediately, no questions asked. Or if you suspect BS, never call up the site in the first place. It takes more than a moment of frustration over the BS in print to unsubscribe. Instead the paper keeps coming, but it gets read less and less.

Eventually, you don’t renew it. Then the paper’s rep calls and offers a year delivered for $10 or something. OK, why not? So, of the people still subscribing, how many are at cheapo subscription rates, and what percentage of those papers generally go from driveway to recycling without ever being looked at?

#  Karl Horst (Germany)

Much of what is published as “news” is written as either editorial or pure speculative opinion. There is not much in the way of actual fact finding or investigative journalism and much of it seems to be based on someone’s Twitter or Facebook posting or some sensationalized video clip. To add insult to injury, the event is written by people with a literary competency level of a high school student lacking any sort of critical thinking skills.

#  UKer

When I worked in newspapers, we were all aware that the readership was literally dying off. Young people weren’t interested in the paper, and the old ones were not going to last. Of course, older people liked the Hatch, Match and Dispatch columns, particularly the latter as they could see who they knew who they wouldn’t be meeting again. But even that began to shrink as younger people saw no reason to announce their marriage or their children (you might even conclude that unmarried single mothers had absolutely no reason to announce the arrival of little Dwayne as there was a fair chance it wasn’t Wayne who was the dad.)

The papers I worked on had a large revenue based on ‘Want Ads’ which was the trendy name for classified lineage ads but that fell as people began to want to buy new (Ikea, etc) furniture and not want some faded or chipped old furniture. The old stuff might last lot longer but the likes of Ikea delivered — for a hefty price — but you didn’t need to hire van to go and collect old Mrs Dobbin’s teak dining table. Nobody wanted old tat any more when you could have smart, new and put-it-together yourself, even if it wouldn’t last long. You could always go back next year and get a cheap, bright and new whatever.

Any survey we did showed people were far more interested in ‘reading’ the paper for the night’s TV guide, and I used to estimate that the ‘life’ of the paper was no more than an hour a day. We used to joke that today’s papers were tomorrow’s garbage/dustbin liners but people started buying plastic bags for that and wrapping up the potato peelings in newspaper went out of fashion.

Worse was the fact that newsagents were not only disappearing but refused to home deliver the paper. The papers I worked on sought new outlets but I know of at least one case where the Chinese take-out food shop agreed to have five papers on a sale-or-return basis each day. Not only didn’t sell any but started sending back seven or eight copies. Plus there was a fanatical urge by local councils to ban parking: if people couldn’t stop their car and rush into a newsagent but had to keep driving they saw no reason to buy the paper at all.

When tinterwebz came along it offered a new market, of sorts, but everyone wanted it free. I worked on the fledgeling web version for one newspaper but it was impossible to get editorial interested then: they may have been young revolutionaries but they had no vision of change other than to stay firmly in a union and tell each other that it was all Thatcher’s fault, even though she had been out of power for half-a-dozen years by then.

All in all the decline of papers was a sad thing. We kidded ourselves that we were selling papers but increasingly the paper relied on handouts with the papers to stimulate interest. The day we got a deal to distribute a promotional can of beer with each copy of the day’s paper boosted circulation to dizzy heights for one day but left the streets littered with discarded papers as well as empty cans. If we needed any further proof we were irrelevant that was surely it.

Of course, since I left the newspaper business I have seen the rise of ‘opinion” masquerading as news, so unless you are one of the faithful — and that has to be lefty zealot — there is no point in reading yet another frothy but boring diatribe on global warming. Advertising was declining and despite what journalists said, their excitable articles were merely padding round the ads, which were getting fewer. (Incidentally, it wasn’t just readers who didn’t read the paper: an editor I knew complained that even his own writers didn’t read what they produced.)

Oh yes, and the price kept going up too. The few papers that are being sold began to require bank notes and not simply pocket change to purchase. Even a free can of booze begins to become expensive…

No one believes journos any more, either the leftist SJWs because they seem the organs of the capitalists and us because the MSM is so leftwing biased and Establishment.

I’d be interested in how many people subscribe and to which online news?  How many subscribe to more than one?  I was thinking of the Telegraph and the Speccie but both have become rags and in the former, comments are carefully controlled. I don’t want to see that, I want to see what people are saying and that is the biggest shift this decade.

Think about the home delivered paper of yore, plus the stall in the high street or at the train station – that, plus TV and radio was where the values came from. No reader feedback except through carefully controlled comments called Letters to the Editor.  The Telegraph has attempted to roll back to that but it seems many are having none on’t and are moving laterally to Breitbart and similar.

Which itself is having its own crises during this presidential campaign.

6 comments for “Newspapers versus online news

  1. Hereward Unbowed.
    April 12, 2016 at 8:55 am

    Much of what is published as “news” is written as either editorial or pure speculative opinion. There is not much in the way of actual fact finding or investigative journalism and much of it seems to be based on someone’s Twitter or Facebook posting or some sensationalized video clip. To add insult to injury, the event is written by people with a literary competency level of a high school student lacking any sort of critical thinking skills.

    A shrewd and if I may say so, a very accurate summary, one to which I very much agree.

    Investigative journalism in the UK has died the death, any longer if ‘Journalism’ is an academic course, then lecturers, clearly, are not worth their stipends.

    Alack, I cannot help myself running off topic……….EDUCATION – the problem runs deep, lack of any sort of academic rigour during early school and right the way up into tertiary education, is an affliction, inflicted purposefully (Frankfurt school doctrine) on this and most other western nations. Observe, and is, why eastern Europeans are so popular with UK employers – in that, they can think and add up, even their English is superior (Gawd almighty)……….how long before these newly added (EU) states succumb to the deconstructivism (to coin a phrase)….. and the western malaise, of demise?

    Another observation.

    With regards to, the massive trauma being suffered by the wankerati noos meejah, which is in paroxysms of mental anguish over published comments, survey/Ch4 programme etc and spiel by ‘road to I told you so…erm – a Damascene conversion’ Trevor and oh dear God, can you feel their pain, it hits them like a RPG in the midriff heavyweight boxer body blow, when they have to actually face the reality.

    Therein is the problem, the Internationalists, the EU, the UK establishment have built their Utopia on foundations of shifting quick sand. The liberal wankerati have fashioned and facilitated a veil of lies to disguise the actualite, occasionally their fluffy make believe world comes up against a very hard place – Salafist Islam (don’t forget the Shia version and the Hezbollah) would be that very hard place and it is a place that the liberal meejah have refused to tread.

    A virtual lala world has been constructed but only made up of a sugar glass coating, it is a wafer thin veneer. When reality (Wahhabist Islam) checks in, those Socialist tosserati, its liberal brains – check out. Any cub reporter therefore imho – would be loathe to shake the foundations of fluffy world Utopia that their ‘betters’ have enabled…”you’ve gotta get with the flow man”.

    And how worried are they?

    Jeepers H, in UK classrooms, they have abandoned Orwell as set reading.

    and you know what he said:

    “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act”

    That they have banned Orwell’s prescient wisdom is, indicative, it suggests just how fearful they; the UK establishment, the International Socialists, the EU – all are.

    As always, the truth will out BUT journalism does its level best to avoid it – from Sunni Islamofascism, the KSA, to wars in Syria and Afghanistan (Iraq), to globull warbling, Putin, the EU, mass immigration et bloody cetera.

    Sticking with the script, toeing the line, keeping mum, signing a privacy clause, makes life so much easier but the longer the truth is ignored, the harder it will get. We all know that – even the Socialists.

    _____________________________________________________________

    Where do I glean news stories?

    From a variety of sources, online and news print, it is usually a case of sifting through, though I still like the broadsheets for ‘Foreign news’ and read the opinion pages early morn’ – before my spleen can vent too much. I so used to enjoy perusing one or t’other of the ‘rags’, but now, they are so much pap or, these days am I just a bit more cynical?
    I still prefer to read a print version, I used to (never, since you have to pay) occasionally drop in to the NYT (mainly to pour scorn on Paul Krugman) – what a serial joke it is become and with each passing year, the graun (Morning Star?) – is a joke comic. Tabloids – not really, sometimes the Mail online (above reference).

    • April 12, 2016 at 9:45 am

      Like GW yesterday, apologies as comment was in spam, who knows why? I’ve just got back here from my own blog.

      • Hereward Unbowed.
        April 12, 2016 at 1:37 pm

        I did wonder James, I saved comment on my gizmo, so you were gonna geddit anyhow:-)

        No worries mate.

  2. Henry Kaye
    April 12, 2016 at 11:19 am

    I subscribe to the DT – for the crosswords. I mentioned somewhere recently that it would be nice if the media were required to REPORT the news and were banned from expressing opinions. I am interested in opinions but the media, being an important source of news for the population at large, should not be a means of brainwashing. Yes, I subscribe to the DT but I don’t read it. I find a few sources of biased opinion on the internet – they are MY choice and they are not stuffed down my throat.

    • Hereward Unbowed.
      April 12, 2016 at 1:40 pm

      Yeah, I like to dabble with xwords, DT and sometimes in the Times, when I have time.

  3. Stonyground
    April 12, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    The last time I bought a paper was about six years ago, it came with a free Roxy Music CD. I don’t recall which paper it was, I binned it without looking at it.

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