Media Ad Infinitum

If you are holding a newspaper right now, I want you to take some time to pat yourself on the back. Even if you aren’t reading this in print, pat yourself on the back anyway, just ‘cause it feels good. But really, I want you to know that reading the paper is a good thing, and in an effort to stir up some positive reinforcement, I want you to feel like you’re doing something right.

Honestly, how many people do you know pick up the paper? For my sake and the sake of the rest of the contributors here at New U, I hope that the answer is “many.” But, let’s face it; you probably don’t know many people that pick up any newspaper at all. Why is that?

Well, I’m sure there are many answers for that question, but I’m guessing that some of them include, “They’re too lazy to pick up the paper,” “They get their news from the Internet” or “They simply don’t care.”

While the latter of those three answers is the most horrifying, let’s take a minute to think about the second answer. Many of us — most of us — get our news from the Internet, not a physical newspaper.

Look, the Internet is fucking cool; you can talk to people on the other side of the world whilst checking the status of the pizza you just ordered online and watch Netflix all at the same time, but it isn’t always the best way to stay informed.

Just like “Video Killed the Radio Star,” the Internet is slowly consuming the physical newspaper. I’m not trying to discredit all Internet news sources (to do that would be very foolish of me) — the information age has actually churned out some pretty decent information.

However, I want to take this time to realize what we are doing to ourselves by ignoring those stands filled with fresh newsprint.

When you’re on the Internet it’s easy to pick and choose what we read without really acknowledging what we are missing. However, when you pick up a paper, there is no escaping it; every section of news that publication has to offer is literally in your hands. Sure, you might just pick it up for the comics or to look at the pictures, but in order to get there, you have to read a few headlines first. There’s no escaping it: you are getting the news, relevant news.

Every print publication has a certain page limit, which means that if the editors are doing their job right, they are filling up that precious space with only what is worth being printed.

Granted, there are tons of relevant news on the Internet for us to read.

In fact, the Internet will provide you with solid reporting from all over the world, but you have to look for it and you have to judge whether it’s credible.

Really, truly, how many young adults are seriously digging for the news online? Maybe some of you are, and that’s great, but not many do and even less pick up an actual paper.

So maybe the answer to my question is that “They simply don’t care.”

See, the real problem isn’t the fact that the Internet age is killing the newspaper and sending publications like Newsweek out of print; the problem is that we’re letting it die.

You, dear reader, are keeping newsprint alive, and in doing so, you are helping yourself. Yeah, everyone is busy and for some reason, even though we have all of these technological shortcuts that are supposed to give us more time, we seem to have less time than ever to stop and think.

I know you might even be rushing to finish this article, but seriously, stop and think about it: you picked up a paper or looked up this website for a reason.

I’m betting that reason is because you wanted to know something. Because you actually wanted to be informed or were curious.

That’s why newspapers exist; they exist for you, the reader.

So what happens when apathy takes over and the reader is no more?

We’ll stop the presses.

Sarah Menendez is a second-year political science and literary journalism double major. She can be reached at smenende@uci.edu.