Laid low with a migraine the other day, my news junkie senses started twitching after a few hours. However, the migraine obviously meant I could not look at a screen which is the normal way I would satisfy this craving. So I extracted myself from my bed and bought a newspaper. Two of them, actually.
Flicking through the pages something dawned on me. Something so obvious that it would be easy to overlook it. Indeed, I clearly, have overlooked it many times before. I was reading news and features that I normally would not, simply because they were printed on the page in front of me. The format had directly affected the information I consumed.
A newspaper is not a charity
People regularly implore the public to buy a newspaper almost as an act of charity. To support an important industry going through a difficult transitional time, and all for the price of a cup of coffee. That is all totally valid. However, as is so often the case, the real reason to buy a newspaper is far more selfish.
In the age of digital echo chambers that we now live in, being given some pieces of paper that have information on that you may not automatically seek out, or that an algorithm would not pick for you, is invaluable. Your eye catches a story and you consume the 350, 500, 800 words without really questioning it. You just take in the information.
Online readers largely pick out the subjects they know they want and it is all too easy to click away from a story that does not immediately grab our attention.
I love reading news online and will undoubtedly continue to do it to an obsessive degree. There may be a time in the near future when there is no choice but to do that. Until then, we should all keep picking up bits of newsprint every morning.
My first book "Not Buying It", looking at post-truth in media and politics, is being published by Unbound
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