By KHASHAYAR GHAFFARIEH
With newspaper circulation lower than ever and the emergence of online news websites, the question must be asked: do newspapers matter anymore or carry the weight they used to?
The answer is that newspapers have never been less prevalent in the American lifestyle, but perhaps we need them to be more relevant than ever. There is more news than ever before, and this has been quietly horrible for the state of factual news. The accessibility to the digital world at every person’s fingertips allows for misuse and “fake news” to become more prevalent than ever, and invalidates reliable news networks. One might have thought that with this abundance of information, humanity would experience an intelligence revolution, but instead, all we seem to care about is Kylie Jenner’s bikini color.
Though we have access to a seemingly infinite amount of information at our fingertips, our potential is abruptly limited to trending topics and temporary satisfaction due to our detrimentally selfish attention spans. Moreover, the positive impact of print news is jeopardized in the process. Currently, humanity prioritizes instant-gratification-based news compared to articles about culture, politics, worldwide happenings, and print news takes the bullet in the process. While print news is one of the most important platforms for cultural knowledge, it is sadly losing its place in the world with the prevalence of social media and technology. In order for the public to regain its appreciation for print news, the nation would have to undergo a massive cultural shift, and it is unrealistic to expect this to happen. It would also require a shift in news itself. In the past years, news has gone from priority and breaking news to consumer news, which focuses on providing a palatable aesthetic to the detriment of actual reporting. News sources like Daily News, Buzzfeed, and TMZ allow people to bandwagon on new trends and relate to celebrities they aspire to, but they also allow people to stop looking at the world around them and, instead, down at their cellphone to hear about the new celebrity feud.
This is why we need newspapers more than ever, because while we may have access to a large quantity of news, the quality is not always the best. We need something to give us consistent and trustworthy information about topics that actually make a difference in people’s lives. An upcoming election in a foreign country or the national debt are not topics that are covered often in today’s news cycle. It is important for us to look at people from different backgrounds like our brothers and sisters, because it seems like we have never been more divided as a species.
Though our natural inclination is to dismiss issues that exist outside of our personal bubble and dedicate our attention to immediately relevant information, we have a responsibility to be knowledgeable on events and topics and expand our understanding of the world in order to work towards a more compassionate global outlook.