Soap Box

I’m going to take a moment to stand on this soap box we call TRAVIS to talk about something that’s been burning inside me all week: newspapers. Perhaps my perspective is mislead, but as a hopeful in the field of journalism, I feel as if I’m watching the trade implode due to both laziness and a lack of enthusiasm for the craft.

On that note, I want to also mention a really great life lesson that has stuck with me: Criticism doesn’t work. It really doesn’t. The first thing the criticized does is make excuses, if not aloud then to themselves. The only way to get people to understand, is to level and offer your solution. If you complain or criticize without a solution, you’re part of the problem. So I don’t want to rant and enrage, I want to tell you how I feel and offer my solution.

Last week, I tweeted @nationalpost why Justin Bieber seems to make it into the paper everyday, but NXNE got little to no coverage. @chrisboutet replied that NXNE coverage was covered on their blog, The Ampersand. This is all well and good, but the paper is THE paper, and the blog is A blog. How many other trendy online publications covered NXNE? Tons, everyone with a wordpress and a ticket to NXNE (press or not) was blogging about it.

There’s so much going on constantly, and so many stories to be found, I feel as if today’s writers are phoning it in. I can understand if you’ve been doing this for twenty years maybe the piss has been taken out of you and you’re mind is somewhere in the Muskokas, but what the world needs is fresh material constantly. If newspapers want to hold a candle to the internet, the material has to be fresh and interesting. Sub me in for a day, I’ve got a huge list of ideas, and hey, if I run out, let me go, and put a new perspective in the seat. I think that one talk with someone big could either open my eyes to why things are the way they are, or open theirs to where the world is heading.

My fear is that I’m heading into a field that is dooming itself by slacking off. Today’s Post explains that due to poor financial standings they will be omitting a Monday release during the summer. There is a solution, tackle more content. Write shorter pieces but add more content. Yesterday was the Olympic Island Festival, a collection of Torontonian/Canadian/legendary bands performed, the hipster elite (all of Arts and Crafts) were there to do something amazing, and yet, Bieber is on the front page of the entire paper. Sure, he’s Canadian, but he’s the number one trending topic on Twitter. If there’s something to know about him, trust me, WE know it before a writer has even picked up the assignment. The point is: for those that want to know, they already will know by the time papers hit the shelves. If you want to get read, you need to get fresh.

I understand maybe just because my generation thinks the festival was really epic, others don’t. Iggy and the Stooges performed at Yonge and Dundas as well… I did not see even a mention. This isn’t just about music, but about culture and awareness. This is about news not being reported to it’s full potential. Of course no one is going to read a newspaper filled with general hit and miss articles. Something about the G20, something about BP, something about the MMVAs, something about the World Cup, oh and it sure is hot this summer. This isn’t news, this is the easy way out. I understand the politics of newspapers, but politics won’t pay the bills if no one is reading your paper.

There’s some joke about newspapers reporting yesterdays news, and I couldn’t agree more. Except the “yesterday” part is literal, yesterday was years ago. This is an age where so much happens between yesterday and today that yesterday is already vague history.

What I want to see, is a fresh perspective, a story that doesn’t follow the formula. Newspapers are losing readers because readers can get all that information faster and easier. People read the news to be entertained these days. Those people who read it without fail are trailing off, and becoming relics. It’s time to modernize.

Please TRAVIS readers, how do you feel about newspapers? Do you read them? Not read them? Why or why not?

With love,
Bryan

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  1. June 21st, 2010

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