Are papers good for anything but nostalgia?

Written publications have faced a general decline over the past decade or so. The culprit is ostensibly the readily available and free online substitutes of either media outlet websites or amateur bloggers. The latter in particular have taken over a great deal of the more specialized news scene, propagating rumours and being able to get information out that hasn’t necessarily been verified (yet), but still turns out to be valid more often than not. Bloggers also tend to provide more of a personal spin and original insight, than do the Reworders of Reuters Bulletins of the major media.

It occurs to me that it is in either creative or exhaustively researched writing that the published media, here used as an umbrella term for anything on paper, needs to be superior. These are after all paid professionals with vast resources available to them compared to the average blogger with a laptop and cheap hosting in some obscure corner of the web.

For this reason it annoys me to no end when poorly researched, poorly written and error ridden articles with not even a semblance of proofing appear daily in most major media outlets. Often this lack of talent and quality control can be tracked to the same journalists over and over, but for whatever reason they retain their positions. I really can’t even come up with a credible explanation why these consistent lapses happen, beyond the general inability in management to spot the difference between talent and tool.

Frankly, I look forward to a time when papers realize they need to provide an original quality product – something you cannot get anywhere else – in order to stay in business. Incessant regurgitation of the same news over and over in a slightly different and degraded form each time, is certainly not going to convince this reader to pay for the privilege. What is the actual service you pay for – paper to line the bottom of the birdcage?

Please, please do it well or don’t do it. I can read Reuters bulletins perfectly well myself, thank you very much.

Oh and I invite you to nitpick this entry all you like, but then again, I’m not the one trying to make a living doing this.

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