Newspapers belong in bins not bookshelves

The disposable medium
The disposable medium - Picture by Pete Ashton via Flickr

I was on the train back from London last week and found myself sat behind a guy with a huge pile of newspapers. For the duration of the trip from London to Manchester he systematically went through the papers tearing out article and leaving a shredded mess behind him when he got off. By a quick reckoning he had left behind about 6 pounds worth of newspaper.

I was pondering this as I read a nice post over at Jo Geary’s blog where she ponders the ‘value’ of print. In, what she calls, Quick, incoherent thought #4: the power of print (I like the number thing, makes it sound like a series of artworks)she questions the value of print in world where digital is cheaper. Does digital mean that people value print less?

Well, the people who queued outside The Washington Post for their special edition on Obama’s victory would tell you there was a value to print and it has been argued that this is proof that newspaper is still the format of choice for important events. “People didn’t print out the news on their computers”, goes the argument.

In fact Jo argues that in some cases the content is so valuable that it could go in a hard back book.

I have some sympathy with that view (despite my link bait title), the transient nature of the web is often its least appealing characteristics. But I think there is one key factor that makes newspapers, rather than books, a valuable platform and one that should thrive and it isn’t the keepsake value.

Would you bin a kindle?

For me the man on the train proved to me that the compelling feature of newspaper as a medium is that we are prepared to throw it away. Bin it, shred it, leave it on the bus. Whatever we do we are happy to spend money on it and then leave it.

That’s why I think Jo’s book idea is a good one. But it’s also why I think that the newspaper industry excitement (or maybe that should be panic driven hope) for the development of e-readers and digital paper is so, so wrong. I have actually heard newspaper managers talk about how things will be ‘all right’ once digital ink is sorted.

Would you buy this and bin it?
Would you buy this and bin it?

Allowing people to download the daily newspaper to an e-reader or flexible screen may feel like it gives the industry back some of the monopoly on the distribution platform it thinks it needs to survive. But in reality it flies in the face of the way we consume and discard our daily news fix.

Maybe that’s just me. But I’m sure the man on the train would rather have his pile of paper.

Newspaper photo by Pete Ashton from Flickr

Magazines I subscribe to

It’s been a while since one passed by but Adam over at one man and his blog has tagged me with a meme.

Do you still read magazines? Do you pick up a daily newspaper? Or have you moved entirely online. Andrew of Engagement 101 challenged me to list the three magazine I would subscribe to in printed form.

And then he passed the challenge on.

So here are my three (four)

Sight and Sound MagazineMac Format

Cinefex is a US magazine specialises in detailed articles about the special effects in movies. great pictures and in-depth text tells the story of how grown-ups can spend hours having more fun than is legal.

This taps in to the geek, kid and jealous wage slave in me. I would love to be doing this kind of stuff. Essential wish fulfillment and perhaps the very definition of niche magazine.

Sight and Sound
I love film. Normally the bolder and brahser the better – I like my film escapist. But unlike the bigger brasher film mags Sight and Sound is always consistently readable from cover to cover.

Private EyeMac Format
I like macformat because its a mac magazine in the sense that it’s glossy and nice but not as empty as those icreate ones and interesting but not as occasionally dry like MacUser. It’s a bit more hands- on. Although to be fair it would be close run thing. I’d pick up either at the newstand.

Private Eye
I do subscribe to this magazine (is it a magazine). It feeds my cynical world view and though it sometimes isn’t funny – please stop with the yobs and the premiershits already. – it is always an interesting read.

So there you go Adam. Tagged and bagged (without the celophane and annoyoning ads)

Objects of desire

I’m getting better and better and resisting gadgets (apart from my i-phone purchase this year). But a little technology porn for the weekend never goes a miss.

So here goes.

HV20 rig A1e on a matte box rig

Camera add ons from Redrock micro

Belkin podcast studiosoundstudio.jpg

Lots of people getting excited about these Ipod based recording solutions – Podcast and music/studio recording.

Pinnacle Video TransferEyefi wireless sd card

Pinnacle Video Transfer allows you to transfer your analogue video straight to you video player and if you work with stills then how about Eye-fi’s wireless SD card

The xmas vanity blog post

Mindy McAdams has a “vanity post, pure and simple” about a kind of top rss/news/bloggers meme that Adrian, Martin and Paul have been kicking around.

She picks up on a listing by Journalism Daily:

This list changes every day. The site uses an algorithm called Social Rank to calculate “the hottest stories and bloggers every day” in a variety of categories (which are listed at the Social Rank site).

And, here is the vanity part for me, I’m on the list!

Here is today’s



Excuse me while I bask in the false glow of temporary statistics 🙂

Meld – Taking digital journalism to the next level

Another event of interest to everyone involved in digital storytelling

The Department of Journalism at Uclan is about to launch MELD

MELD is an ideas-generation and development workshop bringing together journalists and interactive designers to tell stories in ways we haven’t thought of yet

Selected journalists will be paid to join new media practitioners at a five-day residential lab. There they will learn the skills for success in the connected world

The lab will be held on 10-14 December in Preston

Teams will work on real briefs from Industry partners, including some from Simon Bucks, Associate Editor, Sky News Online with the resources to make the ideas into reality

This is a unique opportunity for freelance journalists and interaction designers based in the North of England

Evening launch events

10th October: MANCHESTER EXCHANGE SQ. Selfridges Moet Bar
15th October:LEEDS Boutique Bar

For more information mail or phone 0114 221 0454