BBC: We need newspapers to understand things

An interesting article over at the BBC on the future of newspapers in the digital world. It wades through all the usual arguments in the usual BBC way but it was the end that caught my eye.

A fully functioning media needs more than fast reacting rolling news, it also needs newspapers which spend more time chewing over what the news actually means.

That’s true. But is a newspaper the only place for analysis and in-depth reporting? Many agree that it is – I don’t – but if they are, it begs the question: “ is there any place for a newspaper on the web?”

There is a problem with free: it often comes unpackaged and without the know-how to understand it.

I’m not sure what this means. Is it that newspapers are somehow inherently imbued with that understanding?

I don’t think they are. People don’t read a range of newspapers. They read one. Are they getting a broad and balanced view of the world from one paper? No, of course not.

The ‘voice’ of the paper is one of the things that is being used to sell papers in this digital world. They are Viewspapers not newspapers as Simon Kellner once put it. We get a deeper but sadly biased view.

Maybe if we give the readers access to more information they will get the know-how themselves. Maybe they won’t. Perhaps they will stick with content online that gives them the world view they want. Just like they do with their papers. Whatever they do let’s not use that as a criticism of one media when trying to pass it off as a strength in another
Still, perhaps it suits the old ‘lecture rather than conversation’ model of newspapers to keep that know-how to themselves.

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