Remember: In Praise of the Newspapers



Growing up in a family of readers who subscribe to numerous newspapers and magazines, I am saddened to see the internet and social media have such a devastating effect on print publications of all kinds. I was fortunate to have a grandfather and an uncle in our household who provided us with a daily newspaper and a few local weekly newspapers, as well as many magazines like the Saturday night message, Reader’s Digest, and Time. On a few occasions I have also sold the Squeak newspaper and collected magazine subscriptions to earn money or receive rewards.

Digesting all this reading material and hearing the stories discussed regularly prepared me for success in school and also helped me make myself the major of my high school class, which allowed me to attend Texas A&M. tuition free. My grades in college (based largely on reading and writing skills) earned me a generous graduate scholarship that allowed me to earn a PhD. in English at the age of 25.

Then, after forty years of teaching students to read critically and write competently, I happily retired to volunteer and spend time helping out-of-school adults write their life stories.

I do not believe that the time young people today spend on Facebook, their cellphones and other social media allows them to develop even a small fraction of the literacy skills that I have. learned from newspapers and magazines during my childhood and adolescence. . Let us now briefly consider the history of newspapers, using Wikipedia as my primary source.

Newspapers can cover a wide variety of fields, such as politics, business, sports, and art, and they often include a wide range of material such as opinion columns, weather forecasts, reviews of services. local, death notices, birth notices, crosswords, editorials. cartoons, comics and advice columns.

Most newspapers are businesses, and they pay their expenses with a mixture of subscription income, newsstand sales, and advertising revenue. Journalistic organizations that publish newspapers are themselves often referred to as newspapers.

Newspapers have traditionally been published in print (usually cheap, low-quality paper called newsprint). However, today most newspapers are also published on websites as online journals, and some have even abandoned their print versions altogether.

Newspapers appeared in the 17th century as information sheets for traders. At the beginning of the 19th century, many cities in Europe, as well as in North and South America, were publishing newspapers.

In 2005, there were approximately 6,580 daily newspaper titles worldwide selling 395 million copies printed per day (in the United States, 1,450 titles selling 55 million copies). The global recession of the late 2000s and early 2010, combined with the rapid growth of free web-based alternatives, led to a decline in advertising and circulation, forcing many newspapers to downsize. their activities to deal with losses.

Global annual revenue approached $ 100 billion in 2005-7, then plunged during the financial crisis of 2008-9. Revenues in 2016 fell to just $ 53 billion, hurting all the major publishers as their efforts to earn online revenue fell short of target.

The decline in advertising revenue affected print and online newspapers, as well as all other media. Print advertising was once lucrative but has declined significantly, and online advertising prices are often lower than their print precursors.

Besides the reshaping of advertising, the internet (especially the web) has also challenged business models of the paper-only age. In particular, the number of local newspapers has significantly decreased and the number of employed journalists has decreased. If you are lucky enough to have a local newspaper, count yourself lucky.

Jerry Lincecum is a retired Austin College professor who now teaches classes for seniors who want to write their life story. He welcomes your reminiscences on any subject: [email protected]



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