Why I Don’t Read the Newspaper
For today’s article I wanted to look at the reasons for the decline in newspaper sales. I had planned to comment on this list of 10 reasons but realised that my post turned too much into a summary. So instead, I’m going to tell you why I personally don’t like to buy newspapers (which will still include some of the points mentioned on the list).
For me, it’s not so much the Internet with tons of news instantly available but rather TV which is the major “threat" to newspapers. I get my news from Tagesschau an hessenschau for regional news, on weekends I might also watch heutejournal and Tagesthemen. That’s what I’ve been used to since I was a child – if my parents had read the newspaper, I might have become a newspaper reader as well, who knows? Anyway, I feel like I’m informed enough when I watch these two programmes. Even if not all of the stories are interesting, you only spend 45 minutes in total on them. Plus, you need to do something between dinner and prime time, so they fit in perfectly.
I know that Tagesschau cannot go into depth in an airing time of only 15 minutes. But if I wanted to, I could do some research about the topic – which I don’t because, let’s be honest, most of the stuff just doesn’t interest me as it’s mainly politics. The same goes for the newspapers we had to buy: Politics, economy, sports? That’s just not interesting to me. And why should I pay for something I don’t enjoy reading?
That leads me on to another point: cost. When we had to buy a newspaper, the price decided which one I got. I just bought the cheapest one that was available on Frankfurt, which happened to be the Frankfurter Neue Presse. If there had been one with an interesting story on the front page, I would have happily payed a few cents more but there just wasn’t. Additionally, most articles are or will soon be available on the Internet and if I just buy the newspaper for say 4 articles, I might as well read them for free.
So, what could newspapers do differently in order to attract me?
I’m not quite sure. First of all, it would certainly not be a bad idea to make them look a bit more attractive. That means choosing better pictures (the ones in the FNP were quite meaningless) and changing the enormous size. Maybe I would also consider buying a paper that’s published weekly or every other week, that has less but longer articles explaining a topic in more detail, from different points of view. A bit more variety in topics would be nice aus well. I would prefer to read about culture, lifestyle, travel, food and these kind of things. But then again, these are topics covered in magazines. So why should newspapers get into their business? And would people buy a newspaper for these topics? Probably not.
So maybe it’s not that the newspapers have to change anything, it’s just that I’m not interested in most of the “typical“ (political and economical) topics they cover.