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Sunday, January 27, 2008

News? No thanks, not really interested

Roy Greenslade does a piece on research that confirms what we already know: fewer people are buying newspapers. But it also shows that fewer people are consuming news full stop.

Yes, a lot of people turning off the TV and ditching the paper are going online. But an awful lot are just getting on with their lives without being too bothered about catching a daily news package. The headlines are enough.

This is something I want to come back to a lot this year. I think it's the elephant in the conference room: People aren't interested in news. Is there anything we can do about that? Is it because of too much information so people are switching off, because people are tired of beatups and headlines that fail to deliver in the story below, too much personality and fluff and repetition and flashiness? Or is it something more than that?

In the same vein as Roy's blog post is this heartfelt piece in the Washington Post by veteran reporter David Simon.

He asks: "Isn't the news itself still valuable to anyone? In any format, through any medium - isn't an understanding of the events of the day still a salable commodity? Or were we kidding ourselves? Was a newspaper a viable entity only so long as it had classifieds, comics and the latest sports scores?"

Good question.