Type to search


Black, white and dead all over: an apologia for newspapers

“I SEEK NEWSPAPERS! I SEEK NEWSPAPERS!” one rueful writer cries a la Nietzsche and the parable of the hermit who declared, “God is dead.” Extra, extra...the paper’s reality is now nothing but a silhouette, duh. One writer, like Diogenes the Cynic plodding around the agora with his lantern in search of an honest man, insists that the great beacon of the broadcasts, the great bellwether of bombshells, the news, is still alive. Graphic BY Meghan Holloran | photo editor

Nine out of 10 times growing up, I would walk into my childhood bedroom to a pile of newspaper articles on my desk. As I flipped through them, there was no set topic, no niche interest that I was fanatically researching. Instead, they were diverse stories that my dad had set aside for me during his daily reading of the newspaper because he thought they would interest me. I remember that act of love fondly and still excitedly await my dad’s email with obscure articles to enjoy. 

Much news content may have moved online, but it is still the news. The industry may be facing a never-before-seen turn to the internet, but they are still vital to keeping the public informed. Newspapers are more than an aesthetic, more than a collection of articles folded in a complicated manner. They are a business, they are a group of editors and reporters figuring out what story to tell and when. 

I am no stranger to people’s complaints about the state of journalism, so when Reno Valentino wrote an article about the dying industry, I wasn’t surprised and it wasn’t something I hadn’t heard before. In fact, when I told people I was studying journalism, the top response was that the printed newspaper was dying. 

People need to stop saying that the news industry is dying when it is really just changing. When I am nervous about the state of journalism, I simply remind myself there will always be news. No matter what form it takes, reporters will have news to report and stories to tell. 

Valentino challenges the industry and asks if anyone is reading. Yes, they are. Young and old people tune in every day to learn what is happening in the world around them. People read the stories in their preferred format, sure, but the job of a reporter is not to force people to pick up a printed copy but instead to write an engaging story. 

Print and digital versions of the paper each have their own purpose. Older readers may not know how to access a digital newspaper, but they can count on the printed version showing up at the door every day. Older readers and readers who do not have access to technology, for that matter, deserve to have access to the paper. Additionally, just like with books, some people simply prefer paper, and that is okay. The printed paper still serves its purpose. Times may be changing, yes, but they aren’t changing that fast. 

Speaking of change, we can’t ignore that we live in a digital world now, and while it is a funny joke that the news industry is notoriously stubborn and slow to change when it comes to the internet, that just isn’t the case. Newsrooms have adapted and built an online presence. You can access pretty much any story online nowadays, and they break important stories quickly over social media. Sure, they can do more, but that will come with time. 

I am still scared of change and sad that this is where we are though. I wish for everyone to recognize the beauty of a printed newspaper — to understand what I was excited about every time I got a new article from my dad. But people catching up on the news on their phones during their commute to work will just have to be good enough. 

Skip to content