Newspapers are the Original “Content.”
Before there were landing pages, Facebook, social posts and SEO…there was the paper. Before the internet, radio, TV, phone lines, or even telegraphs…there has always been some sort of newspaper. It is believed “Publick Occurences Both Foreign and Domestick,” published by Benjamin Harris out of Boston in 1690, was the first paper in the United States; and European formal newsprint dates back as early as 1605. In today’s electronic world, as newspapers can be delivered to a huge range of audiences both in print and through technology, the same writers, editors, and reporters that have been unveiling important public truths for decades can offer their voices in multiple mediums. While “content” is just a buzzword for lightly veiled sales pitches, “news” is information society needs. Newspapers offer a service, both in print and digital formats, that has an integral and vital part to play in all public forums. By being informed on what is happening in the world around us, both local and abroad, we as human beings have greater knowledge of how to be involved in our community; how to keep our families safe; how to engage with others socially and culturally; and how to interact with our own government politically.
A Printed Newspaper is a Daily Historical Snapshot.
Digital media’s greatest asset is also its greatest liability–it is completely pliable. Ever-changing and moving, what exists on a website today will be gone and forgotten tomorrow. Newspaper is one of the few mediums left that give us a true time machine for ourselves. What was the world thinking, feeling, discovering or doing 100 years ago? What was at the forefront of history on this day even last year? Newspapers offer a composite sketch of our own heritage on a daily basis.
Journalists Offer So Much More Than Just Words.
The greatest trouble in a world inundated with information is that much of the information we are inundated with is wrong, biased, or unfounded in research. Any Tom, Dick, or Carrie can start a blog and spew opinions or half-truths. However, a true journalist has examined and investigated every story they put their name on and taken an oath to serve the public in a responsible and ethical way. The Society of Professional Journalists lists four principles as the foundation for ethical journalism. To summarize, this code of ethics states every journalist will, “seek truth and report it, minimize harm, act independently, and be accountable and transparent.” Additionally, there is arguably even more authenticity when something is put into print, a forum that can’t be easily changed with a few clicks. Because of this you can trust that citation and responsible journalism has been taken seriously whenever you pick up an actual in-your-hands newspaper.
Editing is the Lost Art of Curating World Events for Us.
It is incredible that we can learn about veritably any subject with the press of a button at our fingertips. It is also incredibly overwhelming. Newspaper editors do an important task for us that allows the reader to experience their global and local data in an obtainable way. As Patrick M. Lencioni says, “If everything is important then nothing is.” And giving a physical platform for a particular event or topic, like a newspaper, is essential in the maze of the American zeitgeist. There is no way any one of us can be enlightened on the most recent developments for every issue every day; but it is possible to be knowledgeable on the proceedings which will change the course of history today.
Everyone Needs the News.
More than ever before the newspaper can be everywhere, whether it be sheets of grey parchment as you ride the train to work, or on a tablet in bed before you drift off to sleep. Accessibility is the most important element when including all Americans in a public conversation without respect to income, status, religion, race or gender. While many people have access to tablets, smartphones, computers and more; there are so many individuals that don’t have any of that. The ability to gain knowledge should not be exclusive to the employed, wealthy or tech-savvy. Newspapers serve the same insights, whether you’ve spent a dollar for newsprint at the corner store or spent $3,000 on your state-of-the-art desktop. News is for everyone.