Friday, August 31, 2012

Londoners Read

Newspapers sometimes appear to be a dying species in America. The Internet has consumed ad revenue, much of which was traditionally the domain of newspapers, but not anymore. In addition, Americans don’t consume newspapers like they used to. It seems many have abandoned reading altogether. That may be true for some, but most are consuming their news in paragraphs instead of pages or whole newspapers. Mobile devices are now the source of most news, with their convenience and shortened web-version of articles. In fact, the longer version just doesn’t exist anymore. Now, the news needs to be reported at such a quick rate in order to be relevant that long-form journalism is hard to find. In a lot of cases, one has to wait for the Sunday newspaper to read an article that actually is thorough enough to be classified as reporting.

Often it just seems like newspapers are not going to last. I don’t see that many people reading them anymore. The rack of papers at Starbucks is full in the late afternoon. And I can get The New York Times for free every weekday on DU’s campus and I feel like I am one of the few students in my program who actually takes advantage of this.

That is why it is so refreshing to arrive in London and see people voraciously consuming the news in print. There are several major newspapers in London. I can think of The Guardian, The Times, The Financial Times, The Telegraph, The Evening Standard, The Sun, and the free Metro just off the top of my head right now. I should add that the Standard is free as well.

The few times we were on the tube during rush hour, especially in the morning, everyone was reading something. It is just so great to see. Even if they were reading The Sun or a tabloid, I was happy for them, proud that there is a metropolis in which print is surviving. Even in the UK, despite their huge scandals in the last year concerning phone and email hacking, the paper industry is still significant enough to have several papers competing against each other, something you could only remotely say about these US cities: NYC, Chicago, D.C., and Los Angeles.

I brought home a copy of The Guardian (my favorite paper in the UK) and The Times. I will finish reading them cover to cover and then I probably won’t throw them away. I feel they are my best souvenirs from across the pond, where, as if under a wonderful spell, people still pay attention to original reporting. In stark contrast, the Huffington Post is popular in America. 

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