These are strange days — if not trying times — for those in the newspaper business, at least, for those of us who still have jobs.
The industry is in the midst of a transition period as it continues to serve a declining print readership and builds on a growing — slowly but surely — online readership base.
Personally, I am optimistic about the survival chances of newspapers, though I figure not all of them will make it through the transition period. And I think it is a given in the industry that it won’t rack up the sorts of licence-to-make-money profits it used to earn.
But the idea that the Internet is wiping out newspapers is erroneous. In fact, the Internet depends on them, and things like your google news feed would have a lot less to read if newspapers fade into extinction.
I don’t think I need to explain the importance of newspapers to your towns and cities, except to say that they hold politicians accountable more than anyone else does. They are the voice of the people, your voice . . .
Which is all to say that I urge you to support your local newspaper by taking out subscriptions, either online or print, or both. Indeed, enjoy both while you still have them because one day, print versions may not be available any more.
As for subscription prices, it disappoints me when I hear people complain about them, and try to cheat newspapers online by finding ways around pay walls. The subscription prices for online newspapers are ridiculously low, a fraction of what you would pay for a cup of coffee each day.
And given the service that newspapers provide to everyone by keeping politicians honest and outing the crooked ones — not to mention all the other ways newspapers serve the entire population — subscription prices are a hell of a good deal.
As for the use of ad-blocking software, well personally, I like to see advertisements. I like the fact that I can click on an ad and see more information and even order a product immediately. I’ve done it; I’ve bought stuff thanks to online advertising that I might not have known about.
So, consider this a soft pitch from someone who is not exactly tech savvy. Support your local newspaper, because it is your voice, too. Take part in reader discussions there, and give them input when they ask for it. Help to make your local newspaper a strong voice in your community.