Think Like an Editor blog by Steve Davis and Emilie Davis, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University

10 reasons for newspapers to survive

By · Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

One day after we posted our latest video, which focuses on the iPad, I’m still thinking a lot about James Murdoch’s comments that iPads are “cannibalizing” newspapers and could be their demise because the interactive devices come so close to readers’ actual experiences with physical newspapers.

Everything that my co-author says in the video about the iPad makes sense. Still, it does not feel good to even think about the possibility that newspapers could ever go away.

Here are 10 reasons you should want newspapers to survive. And if you don’t want it for yourself, wish it for the rest of us.

  1. Morning ritual. Pulling the home-delivered newspaper out of its tube is a morning routine that starts the rest of the day in motion, including that much-needed and desired first cup of coffee. Same goes for buying a single copy somewhere. Coffee is still in the picture.
  2. Surprise me. You might get what you search for when you use the iPad to customize your news and information, but you won’t be treated to any surprise stories that await you, carefully placed by an editor who appreciates what makes a story newsworthy and why you should care.
  3. Death watch. OK, so this one might seem a bit morbid, but you can scan the obituary notices in print to find people you might know who have died OR their survivors a lot more quickly and efficiently than you can using an iPad.
  4. Wrap it up. After you have been informed, enlightened and entertained by all the news and information that the print version offers, you can recycle the pages by using them to wrap up the husks of sweet corn you’ve just shucked or the guts of a pumpkin you just carved or the sharp shards of a favorite holiday ornament you might have just dropped and broken.
  5. Keep it moving. Same goes for using newspaper to wrap breakables that will be packed for moving day or shipped to someone special via snail mail.
  6. Keep in touch. It’s fun to receive a box from someone across the country or the world if that box has been packed with newspaper. Read what made the news somewhere else. Maybe try to figure it out in a different language.
  7. Reminisce. You can do the same thing when you unpack a box that’s been stuffed with newspaper awhile back. Doesn’t everyone have at least a few boxes in the basement that haven’t been unpacked from previous moves? Open them up. Look at the date. What was going on in your world during those frantic days when your time was consumed with packing?
  8. Don’t forget the ads. Unrumpling those newspapers to see what used to be fashionable — cars, clothes, home appliances, toys, all sorts of things — is entertaining in itself. An added bonus is seeing yesteryear’s price tags.
  9. Think of the journalists. While reporters and editors are multijob journalists who do much more than just print, including creating and producing for the iPad, many of them still get a thrill from all of the above.
  10. Nightly ritual. Many people say they can’t sleep until they have read the newspaper in bed — when what really happens is that they fall asleep within minutes, the newspaper pages spread every which way and falling to the floor. Would you deprive them of that?

Emilie Davis

Comments

By Angela Cave on November 17th, 2010 at 4:39 PM

Sing it!

 
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