Opinion: Stand up for newspapers and brave journalism
Newspapers and magazines have been read their last rites several times over the past few years.
One by one well-respected national papers, household name magazines and regional stalwart titles have fallen into the mire of online-only or have completely vanished from the newsstands. As a subscriber to Writing News Magazine and a regular visitor to the website Holdthefrontpage, I see on a monthly basis how titles are being either closed down or swallowed up by huge corporations.
There are good news stories. The fact that here in West Norfolk we have access to two paid-for newspapers and several free papers means we have a range of viewpoints and opinions. On a national scale, The Daily Mail, The Telegraph and The Times are shifting large numbers of daily papers and The Guardian is hanging on partly through its education courses and readership contribution scheme.
But you only have to look at the bland and ubiquitous web news stories where all too often a story that appears on one website, re-appears, possibly with a different opening paragraph, but similar in every other respect across other so-called news platforms. By supporting good journalism, we can get the sort of in-depth and intelligent reporting that we should be entitled to.
At a time when the freedom of the press is under attack from right wing demagogues in the USA, power-hungry oligarchs in Russia and murderous assassins in the Middle East, then democracies everywhere should be supporting the Fourth Estate.
I am about to travel to China to report on an international hockey tournament. I was advised not to put any reference to media on my visa application because I wouldn’t be granted entry to the country.
It is easy to knock the media. But this is also the medium which works for social change: take for example the Daily Mirror’s campaign to change the law on organ donations, or the Mail’s campaign to name the killers in the Stephen Lawrence murder. There are many great examples of newspaper campaigning, some of them occurring in the pages of this newspaper. Come on, make buying a newspaper part of your support for freedom of expression.