Newspapers unparalleled in service to society

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    Newspapers are dying.

    Thanks, I’ve got it. Personally, I’m sick of people telling me newspaper industry is dying and then wondering why I get annoyed. How would you like it if I said your job was irrelevant?

    But just as television killed the radio, the Internet is killing newspapers and those in the industry aren’t doing a thing to stop it.

    So here is my modest proposal.

    I can’t fix the money problems newspapers are facing. We are bleeding out the side from lost advertising revenue as classified ads and full-page ads move to the Internet where they earn three cents a click.

    But to someone who, as a child, looked forward to scooping the paper off the lawn every morning, I can divulge another value of the newspaper.

    In photo albums all over our house, my mother has stored newspapers from important events in history. Beginning with the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the collection of newspapers contains the famous front pages featuring former President George H. W. Bush’s election (1988 – the year of my birth), Sept. 11 and most recently, President Barack Obama’s election.

    While these don’t include every important event, these are the ones that spoke to her. When I look at the Kennedy paper, it’s like a snapshot out of history. I can imagine the horror and shock people felt when they read the details.

    And most of all, that newspaper possesses a majesty that Internet reporting can’t hope to duplicate.

    There is a standard for writing, correct spelling and an obligation to conveying the news. Internet reporting and blogging, though pervasive, stuffs stories with self-importance rather than the true purpose of the newspaper – reporting objective news.

    I’ll leave my full rant against egotistical bloggers for another day, but I will say that newspapers do what broadcast news and Internet reporters cannot do.

    I can’t imagine a world without newspapers, but I think newspapers need to change in order to stick around.

    First, they need to have paid subscriptions online. While I have expressed my dislike for Internet reporters, these online newspapers would be run by proper journalists with real degrees.

    Secondly, the newspaper needs to surrender its desire to be a timely news source and focus on developing stories for those who actually have the attention span to read them. Few reporters on the Internet bother following up on stories because no one skimming headlines online cares enough to follow a story in-depth.

    I don’t think the newspaper is dying. But it will if something doesn’t change.

    Until then, I will faithfully read the newspaper every day and enjoy the professional journalism.

    Libby Davis is a sophomore news-editorial journalism and history major from Coppell.