Has technology ruined the modern newspaper?

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In summary, software allowing editors to completely lay out their newspapers have stripped newspapers of all of their character.
  • #1
BobG
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Software allowing editors to completely lay out their newspapers have stripped newspapers of all of their character.

Case in point - when's the last time you read a 'bus plunge' story in the newspaper. Years ago, it seemed like you could count on reading a story of a bus load of people plunging into a ravine almost every week. Buses haven't gotten any safer in most of the world - in fact, a more open society in China means we should be able to read even more bus plunge stories - but you almost never see 'bus plunge' stories anymore.

We no longer get to read stories, such as:
Twelve persons were killed and ten were injured when a bus went off the highway and plunged into a 1,000 foot abyss about six miles from Anserma, Central Colombia today. The bus caught fire after landing in the abyss.

In the old days, when newspapers used the old mechanical type sets, they never knew exactly how the newspaper would look until the typesetters were finished laying out the newspapers. The bus plunge stories were great for filling awkward spaces in the newspaper since you could edit out as many extraneous details as necessary to make the story the right length. For example: the last sentence in the above story could easily be deleted without detracting from the story (although including it certainly adds to the aesthetic quality of the story).

Readers' fascination with these stories were a key reason for Hollywood's obsession with having all sorts of vehicles plunging off of mountain roads and bursting into flames in mid-air.

Readers here in Colorado Springs are certainly fascinated by the story when another tourist manages to circumvent the brake temperature check at Glen Cove on the road down Pikes Peak and is rewarded for his cleverness by having his brake fluid boil away. Pikes Peak is a big enough tourist attraction that there's always drivers coming up the mountain to provide an eye witness account of the reactions of the hapless driver trying to navigate the hairpin turns on the road down Pikes Peak before their car ultimately plunges off the side of the mountain, usually killing everyone inside (in one of the more fascinating incidents, the driver turned tried turning off the ignition, upping the challenge to navigating the hairpins with no brakes and and no power steering).

Now we have to be satisfied with perusing bus plunge stories on the web (Bus Plunge!) This is much less satisfying since, once again, the digital age eliminates the need for strategic editing. No more does the reader spend 10 minutes pondering why the bus plunged off the road, how the bus was spotted at the bottom of the ravine, how some of the passengers could have possibly survived a plunge into a 1,000 foot ravine, or what emotions were running through the passengers' eyes as they peered desperately out the windows of the plunging bus. All the details are provided with little need for thought or imagination by the reader. It's just not the same.:frown:
 
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  • #2
That's sad, I was wondering why I hadn't read about any good bus crashes lately. :wink:
 
  • #3
Good news, BobG!

Bus Plunges, Killing 3 Alabama Students

ATLANTA, Ga., Nov. 20 — A school bus plunged nearly 40 feet off a highway overpass in Huntsville, Ala., on Monday and crashed nose-first into the ground, killing three students and sending 11 others to the intensive care unit, officials said.
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/21/us/21bus.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

There's a photo of police officers yelling at the cameraperson taking the photo. It was actually the front-page image of the NYT for a while (online version), so technology is hardly sidelining the traditional 'bus plunge' story. :biggrin: (This thread is too morbid for me, I'm out of here. :rolleyes:)
 
  • #4
I don't think technology has hurt the newspapers, directly that is.

Indirectly, people seem less likely to read newspapers, to choices given to readers have perhaps reduced the demand for newspapers.

I used to get the NY Times delievered, but when it became available on-line, I stopped getting the paper. I prefer receiving the news electronically - it saves collecting piles of newspaper - and most of the time I was throwing away about 1/3 - 1/2 of the paper, e.g. the Sports section got tossed - I never cared for it. Most of the society and arts pages got tossed. I preferred substantive news about national and international affairs and events, business and science & technology.

On Sunday, I probably threw out 2/3's of the paper without reading.

Then there is NPR and many other news sources on-line, in addition to the Times website. So technology has given us alternatives to the newspaper.
 
  • #5
Why read a newspaper when I can get the same information on the TV and radio? (while driving to school or eating dinner)
 

Related to Has technology ruined the modern newspaper?

1. How has technology affected the circulation of newspapers?

The rise of technology has greatly impacted the circulation of newspapers. With the advent of the internet and digital devices, more and more people are turning to online sources for news, resulting in a decline in print newspaper sales.

2. Has technology changed the way newspapers are written and presented?

Technology has definitely changed the way newspapers are written and presented. With the use of digital platforms, news articles can now be written and published in a matter of minutes, and readers can access news from anywhere at any time. Additionally, newspapers now utilize multimedia elements such as videos, images, and interactive features to enhance the reading experience.

3. Can technology be blamed for the decline of journalism standards in newspapers?

While technology may have contributed to changes in journalism standards, it is not the sole reason for their decline. Factors such as financial pressures and the need for speed in reporting have also played a role. It is important for newspapers to adapt to the changing landscape and maintain ethical and rigorous standards in their reporting.

4. How has the rise of social media affected the credibility of newspapers?

Social media has given rise to the spread of misinformation and fake news, which has greatly affected the credibility of newspapers. With the ease of sharing information on social media, it is important for newspapers to fact-check and verify their sources to maintain their credibility.

5. Is there a future for print newspapers in the age of technology?

While the future of print newspapers may seem bleak, there is still a place for them in the age of technology. Some readers still prefer the tactile experience of reading a physical newspaper, and there is also a niche market for specialized or local print newspapers. However, it is important for newspapers to adapt and embrace technology in order to stay relevant and reach a wider audience.

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