Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Newspaper Trends

Some interesting things about newspapers by Uppercaise.

I don't know Uppercaise and since this blog is free, I can't be half-assed to check any of his figures, which may be inaccurate or whatever.

But if what he is saying is true, then we are following an almost global average - if we exclude special cases like Japan - of declining newspaper sales.

They will blame it on journalists, editors and perhaps even the tea lady, if this is true and as one of those people myself, I must agree somewhat.

The most clear statement, was made by Datuk Sakmongkol:

The decline in NST’s circulation and therefore relevance may actually be caused by these things in the “many”. The “many” in the NST are from the school of journalism from one educational institution. And you know they operate like a secret society, guarding entry into the brotherhood, jealous of anyone not schooled in the same values. Above all, they have this overinflated notion of self-importance that THEY and THEY ALONE have the right to have an opinion on anything. This is the main cause of NST’s degeneration.
Sakmongkol AK47

I don't know about the secret society, and if there is one, sign me up! That, or the jealously-guarded privilege to have an opinion. I believe that newspapers have printed people's opinions counter to what was published in the papers on a regular basis, if the pieces are written well and the points explained properly.

But what I do agree with is the point made which says about the exclusion of the public on having an opinion. I am not saying they are, in newspapers, as there are multiple channels, but I believe that there is a better and easier way for them to express themselves - the Internet.

I believe that MOST people only want to read two things:

1. Things they write themselves

- Humans are such self-absorbed creatures.

2. Things that they agree with.

- Most will spend less time on articles that they do not agree with than with articles that fortify their own thoughts and opinions. There are some who read to gain knowledge, but I believe more read simply to feel good about themselves. It's an ego thing.

- This explains why, whenever I tell people bad news, they tend to hate me for it. So these days, I just shut up and allow them to discover things all on their own.

Going by these, I do not believe that normal newspapering and newspaperism will sell 50-100 years from now. ANyone who is in the business now may be able to make a living out of it, and their sons or daughters might, but a third generation to me seems a bit off.

I have always believed that journalists, in order to remain relevant, need to evolve and roll with the punches. Using the same skill sets, writers can still be of contribution - or cause destruction - to the society.

I have a solution I want to try out, but it will take at least RM3 million in two years' time. And several million in ensuing years.

You think they will let me try? I doubt it. I believe I have a better chance aiming for an Oscar than getting it done.

I'm just an old-fashioned hack.