I worked as a newspaper journalist for one decade; my father and uncle combine at close to a century in the newspaper business.
Recently we were discussing upcoming changes at the Globe and Mail, which will further entrench an evolution that began before I left the newspaper in 2007. Years ago, Globe editors made a decision that with 24-hour news channels and instant online news, delivering yesterday’s news in print didn’t cut it. A quick “what happened” story was great for the Web version, but editors groomed their reporters to focus on what it all meant and what would come next for the print article.
Which led my father, uncle and I to ponder whether “hard news” has any role in today’s print newspaper business. My uncle joked that I hoped to dance on newspapers’ graves; I conceded that I expect to see a day where newspapers are no longer printed on dead trees for daily delivery.
My uncle made some great points about newspapers. They’re better than digital for skimming and quickly finding what you need. They’re light and disposable and can be read in bright sunshine – unlike the Globe and Mail app on my iPad.
“Paper is a great technology,” I conceded, “but it’s expensive and it’s bad for the environment.”
A few minutes earlier, my son had been thrilled to learn that his grandparents are taking him to Disney World this fall for a travel story my father will be writing for the Globe and Mail.
But it wasn’t Mickey Mouse or riding Pirates of the Caribbean that made him most excited. It was the fact that the trip will get him in the newspaper. He’s been on Facebook and YouTube and Twitpic – and that was ok – but being in the newspaper would make him special. Famous even.
Print still holds a certain cachet. Even for a six year old.