Cut to the present. The widespread belief is that fewer and fewer people, especially teenagers and youth, are interested in reading the newspaper. They, instead, turn to websites of their choice or apps on mobile phones or tablets.
The number of newspapers might dwindle, even substantially, over a period of time. But it may be too early to write their obituary.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to attend an open house of some readers of the newspaper I work for. And, in many ways it was an eye-opener. Some of the points I gleaned from the interaction were:
- Newspaper, especially the broadsheet format, is considered as the most credible source of information
- Children are not put off by the language. In fact, they look up to newspapers to learn new expressions and usages.
- Youngsters love to see colour and illustrations in newspapers.
- Few people think that newspapers should minimize or abandon their predominant serious role of informing and educating people, in favour of trivia and entertainment
- It's very difficult to understand what exactly readers want since they are interested in everything from local civic issues to international political developments.
- Web editions are mainly to check out the latest news developments. But there is huge demand for the e-paper format, the digital version of the physical paper. Because people want to see different sections and page numbers.