In Praise of Print

What a wonderful indulgent time I have had. You see its raining and its cold (not very, just a bit) so no need to go outside, ride my exer-bike, do errands and all the other stuff that are Sunday round here. A morning to myself, but not alone. My paper-based broadsheet newspaper was all the company I needed. A thick slab of flat white sheets covered in plastic wrapping to hold all the supplements and flyers together waiting on the mat. I am not sure the plastic is necessary as the deliverer stuffs my paper through the letter box un-ripped. (Thank you sir or madam. Are you a man or a woman, I have no idea?) What I do know he/she is not a lazy youth on a bike who tosses the paper halfway up the drive of American homes, to be rained on and driven over, before half a deforested hillside gets consigned to the bin unread.

No, my print-bomb, during its short life – no longer than a damson fly – explodes with infotainment gold. Somewhere, through the power of the zeitgeist meme, Editors know what I should know to make me an educated, informed, opinioned, functioning member of here, today. Among the viscid pages, that yield to my practised fingers, is oodles of stuff I didn’t know when I awoke – more importantly, if I did know it, I didn’t know what it meant or means or could mean to me or to you or to us.

Why, you scoff, is it necessary to bring me news, opinion and features so wastefully. Ignore the poor sod who got up at 3am on New Year’s Sunday ( he needs the job), but think of the trees and the ink and energy wasted at every stage to bring something so quickly, cheaply and eco-ly (E.coli?) available to all at www.YourPaperOnline.com.

Well here is why. Because this lunch time, you don’t know sod all and I do. You may think you do but you don’t. You may have scanned a couple of iPad items on Huff or the Daily Mail before getting side-tracked by the side-bar of shame. You may have been fleetingly impressed by an Observer/Guardian opinion piece by someone you’ve never heard of, downloaded automatically to your (very small) iPhone screen, and now forgotten. You may be happy that Man U have finally won a game or that England beat South Africa by 241 runs. You may even have heard the BBC bulletin that J Corbyn is about to reshuffle H Benn, delivered in the in the irritating ‘we must remain impartial’ BBC style of ‘oh yes he will, oh no he won’t. But read on (as you congratulate yourself that you have saved the planet) ; I know about Brazilian drugs threat to the Olympics, how the Bolshoi is banning ‘the casting couch’, that Trump is a germophone ( I feel the same way about him), that German Robots teach Syrian kids Deutsch, that Cosby is to face his sex victims, talking of which, did you read the feature on Simon Danczug’s wives (riveting), and then there’s the EU, Gwyneth’s vegan burgers, how we can chose what gender we are, lasers, the floods and Nimr al Nimr’s beheading – how serious is that? The answer is very, but you’ll need to read a broadsheet to know why.

Admit it, compared to me you online news pickers don’t know sod all.

About JS

John Stonborough FCIPR specialises in media relations, providing an authoritative and discreet advocacy to corporate and private clients world-wide. He specialises in handling the hostile media and media regulation. He is known for observing "An interview is no time for an original thought." He is the great-nephew of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. His working career began as a London policeman and then as a reporter for the Daily Mail, BBC Radio 4, Thames Television and Channel 4 TV. From 2001 to 2004 he was The Media Advisor to the House of Commons Commission. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations. He is married and lives in London, England. www.stonborough.com
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