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the good life in a digital age

for newspapers, content is (still) the problem

I’m not exactly a digital native, more first generation immigrant. Nor am I an enthusiastic internet pirate.

I grew up with the habit of newspaper buying. I once worked for a national newspaper. I enthusiastically read the paper cover to cover.

Not anymore.

I stopped buying during the week, once we moved away from Finchley Central. The combination of the regular delays on the Northern line and a newspaper  shop on the southbound platform meant a reasonably regular thought process of  “sod it, might as well buy a paper while we wait”.  The mere geography of the new tube station undermined the purchase process.

For a while it remained a weekend pleasure (with coffee and cats) but in the end I stopped that too.

I stopped because the content alienated me. I was disappointed with the bizarre fashion supplements, with the obsession with new media (biogs for authors that were nothing more than “who blogs at”) and some frustratingly elitist editorials ( Few people know nothing at all by Beethoven). I’m still annoyed about the folksonomic zeitgeist.

And I felt like I knew little more when I put down the paper than when I had picked it up. I knew the gist of the news before I read it and I could guess what the columnists were going to say about. There was never any real analysis, nothing that made me understand.

I tried other papers, even straying a long way from my political comfort land. They all annoyed me. Oddly the Financial Times annoyed me least, perhaps because I had a lot to learn about their particular view of the world. And then I just gave up and saved the pounds.

These days I don’t normally get news from the internet, whether that be blogs, the BBC or newspapers. I get it from the radio.

I do go to newspaper websites (of all stripes) to read the comment stuff but mostly it just annoys me.  Reading it is irrational but I still do it. Paywalls will help me stop irritating myself.

I do still like the supplements ( food , money, gardening and the like)  but figured I might as well just buy a dedicated magazine. They’ll cover those subjects better anyway.  And so we do. Shedloads of magazines still pass through our house.  Proper dead tree media.

So perhaps we could move on from all this paywall business and complaining about the internet.  Maybe it is time to sort out the lazy, trite content instead?

Written by Karen

May 26th, 2010 at 6:25 am

Posted in digital