Sitting in the verandah or the balcony of the house, early in the morning watching the early rays of the sun while reading a newspaper along with a hot cup of milk.
But the newspaper, today, is a dying medium. Newer forms of media that are cropping up; enabled by the advancements in technology are eating into the space of the newspaper. It would be a great loss if the oldest form of news, the newspaper, dies an obscure death.
Why am I so concerned about the fate of the newspaper? It is an honest question that can arise in your minds. I will be answering the question as we move forward with the article.
In a world where gadgets are creeping into our personal spaces, there is an increased dependence on social media and technology. It has given us ability to get information with a single touch, making traditional modes of information redundant.
Today, we are not thinking for ourselves. We are letting the gadget to think for us. With the gadget taking control, we run the risk of dumbing ourselves down. Being accustomed to reading on screen not only has potential health concerns, but it also drives us away from the habit of reading.
Newspapers can help us bridge this gap. The newspaper other begin a source and repository of information to keep the reader up to date with events happening around the globe is also a tool that can be used to enhance reading and thinking capabilities.
As a kid, I was adviced by my English teacher to to either read books or the newspaper to improve my vocabulary. Not everyone has the opportunity to splurge money on comics but almost everyone has access to the newspaper. Reading the newspaper helps a person only to improve vocabulary. The activity also elicits curiosity to learn new things.
Unlike social media, where feeds and timelines are customised and littered with posts from people of similar ideological leaning, the newspaper offers a much more partisan view on important and contentious topics.
Such partisan views help us understand issues in a much more wholesome and holistic manner. It aids in developing critical thinking skills and inculcates a sense of acceptance. On the contrary, on social media, information is much more customised to our tastes. Consequently, we end up with a biased views of issues.
The algorithms devised by social media platforms decide the type of content we view on their platforms. It is based on our previous interactions. This information is used to determine the content to be promoted. Bombarded with such content, we get dragged into a polarised world.
It could be innocuous. To satisfy their curiosity and broaden horizons on various issues people tend to follow palatable content. It creates an echo chamber of views subjecting people to a particular bias. It is a subtle way of getting brainwashed into believing a singular ideology.
Platforms like Facebook and Twitter have recently come under scanner in many countries for trying to influence elections. While Facebook has come under fire in America for its handling of advertisements during the 2016 elections, Twitter has faced criticism for muzzling voices belonging to a particular political ideology. Such developments aided in creating polarised electorates and communities across nations.
These organisations trying to act like news outlets without the proper ethics and laws, they have shrugged responsibility for the malpractices that have happened on their platforms. But media organisations have to adhere to certain checks and balances that govern them. It lends such print and electronic organisations more credibility.
While credibility of news channels is circumspect, as the ownership of a majority of them lies in the hands of politicians, the newspaper still commands certain respect among the populace. The newspaper while shedding light on its political leanings, accommodates opposing views. This helps in giving the ordinary citizen, relevant and up to date information with a comprehensive view on issues.
But if the popularity of the newspaper continues to decline and loses its relevance, it is a big setback to society. It deprives people of enjoying the relaxing activity of reading the newspaper and takes away an important tool of learning. On a more serious note, the death of the newspaper can destroy whatever is left of the credibility that is associated with journalism.
So if you want to ignore the newspaper, do it at your peril.