While this phrase is usually used to sarcastically rebut false information, it’s becoming more and more truthful as the web continues its shift from a cyber playground to a bastion of news and information.
News, in particular, has been commandeered by technology as people turn more towards the stories on their homepage than ones folded on the front porch.
The latest example of this came Thursday May 24 as http://www.al.com ironically broke the news that daily newspapers The Birmingham News, the Press-Register of Mobile, and The Huntsville Times will be reducing their publication to solely Wednesday, Friday and Sunday editions.
In addition, The Times-Picayune in New Orleans will end its 175-year run of publishing the city’s news every day and will also be reduced to three papers a week.
From a business standpoint, of course it makes sense.
Putting all updates and breaking news online means that more people will be forced to visit the websites leaving room for profit from online subscriptions and advertising.
But newspapers should not be totally driven by business.
As a journalism major, I am aware that I’ll probably never have a lavish mansion or bathe in tubs overflowing with cash, but newspapers aren’t about making money.
Writing this column for a newspaper about why newspapers are still relevant may seem like a biased business move in itself, but there’s more to it than that.
There’s a nostalgia to newspapers, a credibility that means what you see is verifiable fact – unless it’s an opinion like this one – and not some internet spam trying to get hits.
Newspapers are more a part of people’s lives than most think.
New Orleans, for example, kept its citizens informed during Hurricane Katrina by continuing to report to the rest of the state about the conditions of the affected cities throughout the bedlam.
In addition, the paper has one of the highest circulations of any major newspaper and the city has one of the lowest Internet usages of any major city.
The situation is similar in Birmingham as inner city impoverished families who may not own a computer or television now have no affordable news source.
The media company controlling the three affected Alabama newspapers justify the change by saying the three papers will be “more robust” and include more features and stories.
Frankly, if you’re only going to print a paper three days a week, the papers obviously have to be bigger to make up for the four days left behind.
But, what’s the point of a bigger newspaper with more news if that news has already been seen online two days ago?
The three papers will be graphic, advertisement and feature heavy in order to fulfill this promise.
Also, if they do publish redundant stories about events that happened days earlier, the point of the the newspaper is lost.
For companies that are looking to save money, this seems like a waste of it.
In addition, the removal of the Saturday edition is one of the worst moves that could have been made.
For a state that’s all about football, people looking to keep up with high school results or look ahead to Sunday’s professional games will be forced to detour from the paper rack to the keyboard.
Yes, it saves the company money.
Yes, these papers don’t feature the most interesting news all the time.
But it’s solid, it’s tangible, it provides jobs and a more personal look on life in your area.
Morning coffee and the morning paper have gone hand in hand for years, and it’s much cheaper to spill coffee on a newspaper than an Ipad.