OH LORD! GIVE ME MY DAILY NEWS, OR
WHY NEWSPAPERS WILL NEVER GO OUT OF FASHION
By Neel Anil Panciker
A recent nationwide survey conducted among 25,000 students between the ages of 12 and 20 threw up certain revelatory statistics.
A staggering 82 percent of them were unable to answer all the 20 questions that were put to them. Only three percent of the interviewed received a centum; answered all the two score questions correctly. Worse, 48 per cent of the children failed to answer even one question correctly.
And pray, what were these questions like? Well, as simple as ‘Who is the President of India? What is our National Anthem? What is the full form of UIDAI?
A pithy aside to all this is that over 77 per cent of the interviewed had at least three social media accounts and logged on to one or the other of them for at least two hours every single day.
One would like to believe that the knowledge level of these tech savvy children, exposed as they were to such a dizzying array of mind boggling media platforms would be very high.
Alas! that is sadly not the case.
Which brings me to my contention, which is that despite living in this fast paced technologically advanced age when every single thing that we want and need is available at the click of a mouse, our children are intellectually stagnating and not growing. Their understanding and knowledge levels are at best rudimentary, superficial. They have become the unwitting victims of a huge business enterprise that believes in serving low quality, half baked, at times absolutely untrue news and information__all served in the garb of ‘insta’ hot news, breaking news et al.
‘Breaking news’, I fear, is just that__broken.
Instead, what we need is wholesome, holistic, well researched information that is unbiased and doesn’t slip through our doorways as advertorials and self serving
And who best to fulfill this other than the tried and tested, our centuries old daily intellectually cuppa__ the newspaper. It is the not the paper that is of relevance here but the news that comes embedded in it.
News, in a newspaper, doesn’t just break unlike in Twitter, Facebook and all other ubiquitous newsfeeds platforms that are dime a dozen in the worldwide internet space. The ‘news’ in the paper, is real, actual, and meaningful and is broken down into its identifiable parts, its every single component, analysed threadbare, the ramifications thoroughly researched and made intelligible sense of.
And to top it all, simply have a look at the kaleidoscopic array of options that are available in the hands of a discerning readers.
Open any reputable national newspaper and you will find there is everything of something for every single one of us cutting across age, gender, social, ideological and intellectual spectrums __all systematically arranged and segregated into neat symmetrical columns that are easy on the eye as well as easily identifiable.
Block headed into standalone pages such as CITY, NATION, INTERNATIONAL, OPEN ED, BUSINESS, LEISURE, SPORTS et al_, none, not even the most hardcore online news junkie can undermine the quintessential supremacy of newspapers over all other Johnny come lately ‘news’ sources that pop out of tablets , mobile phones and laptops__ all high sensationalism but rock bottom when it comes to content doing nothing but merely feeding into our inner depravities and innate voyeurisms rather than satisfying our intellectual curiosities.
On the other hand a good newspaper functions as a mid-path, quite removed from the puerility of ‘insta’ news and a mere arms stretch away from the great books that lie awaiting us in bookshelves to be picked up and read in depth.
To all those naysayers who aver that newspapers are an endangered species soon to be as dead as the dodo, to them I say that’s time they woke up and smelled the coffee__ with the feel of crispy newspaper pages in their hands.
For, such is the paradoxical nature of life that the more the internet grows and serves us ‘breaking news’ the more we will gravitate towards newspapers because unlike the former the latter doesn’t take recourse to short cuts merely to capture more and more eyeballs at the cost of ‘news’ that questions, probes, analyses in complete depth, not just for the moment but for the days and weeks that follow.