Hate Fake News? Subscribe to a Newspaper

2017 03 06 newspaper

I’m not sure where I found it, but I came across this excellent column from November by Leonard Pitts, Jr. It begins:

There is good news on fake news.

As you doubtless know, the proliferation thereof has people fretting. President Obama has dubbed it a threat to democracy. And there is a rising demand for social-media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, often used as platforms for these viral untruths, to take corrective action.

But the good news is that anyone who wishes to avoid fake news can do so easily. There is, in fact, a news platform that specializes in gathering and disseminating non-fake news. So committed are its people to this mission that some have been known to risk, and even to lose, their lives in the process.

Granted, this platform is imperfect — sometimes it is guilty of error or even bias. But hardly ever will you find it trafficking in intentional falsehoods.

So what, you ask, is this miracle medium? Well, it’s called a “newspaper” Maybe you’ve heard of it.


Yes, there is a point here, and it is this: The facts are knowable — and easily so. So the proliferation of fake news should tell you something.

Yes, newspaper reporters make mistakes. Yes, editors make mistakes. Yes, newspapers suffer from organizational failings. And yes, newspapers must continue to become not merely papers, but digital news organizations, in order to best serve their audiences.

But Pitts’s point — that newspapers by their very nature are designed to surface truths, unlike so many other kinds of media outlets — is a crucial one indeed in today’s low-signal, high-noise environment.

Hate fake news? Consider subscribing to a newspaper, if you haven’t already.

India Journalism

Indian Newspapers: So Punny

Newspapers here in India are serious about their puns and wordplay. Here, a sampling taken just from front pages yesterday!

Thai politics

Today’s Nation front page…

…features a unique design:

2011 07 02 nation

And here it is, rotated 180 degrees:

2011 07 02 nation2

Images via @lekasina on yfrog.

Bangkok Journalism

Bangkok Post — in 3D

Given my previous dispatches pointing out interesting tidbits from the Bangkok Post, I would be remiss if I failed to note that yesterday’s edition featured 3D images. E&P explains here. ((Related (kind of): On the Media‘s excellent episode, from July 16, about the future of newspapers.))

Yesterday was the Post‘s 64th anniversary, and the paper was delivered with accompanying 3D glasses affixed to a special outer advertising supplement. 3D photos were used in the supplement as well as throughout the paper itself.

Here’s a cell phone pic:

Bangkok Post in 3D

So how did the 3D effect work? It seemed, well, fine to me — though I must say that I have never seen a newspaper in 3D, so I have nothing to which I can compare the experience.


A few non-Thailand links

Here are a few non-Thailand related links that I wanted to pass along, just quickly, before the week comes to a close:

That’s it. See you next week.


Around the web: August 21-25

Some links that have caught my eye of late:


Health care reform, imagistic poetry, and Brazilian football shirts: what I’ve been reading

Here’s a round-up of some links that have caught my eye of late:

  • Steve Yelvington on the future of newspapers: Stop the irrational negativity: Newspapers are not dead.” And don’t miss his post about local news sites: “The three primary roles your local website should play.” (Related post about newspapers on online journalism here.)
  • The New York Times has a great story about an Italian tourist who recently ventured to Iraq: “Falluja’s Strange Visitor: A Western Tourist.”
  • My pal Austin Bush recently posted a dispatch and some images from the town of Mae Hong Son, in Thailand’s northwest: “Screw Provence.” (More on Mae Hong Son province here.)
  • The Run of Play is my new favorite soccer blog. (It’s written by Brian Phillips, who penned the Slate story about Masal Bugduv, which I mentioned recently.) Related, fun football link: BrazilName: Create your own Brazil football shirt
  • I read a lot of James Wright‘s poetry in college. And I thought of his imagistic work the other day and began consulting The G00g. This poem is one of my favorites: “Having Lost My Sons, I Confront the Wreckage of the Moon: Christmas, 1960.”
  • Atul Gawande in the New Yorker: “Getting There from Here: How should Obama reform health care?
  • The WJS’s Weekend Journal Asia has a round-up of interesting Asia reads: “Asia’s Best Books: Our Top Picks of 2008.”

Jakarta Globe takes on the Jakarta Post

The newspaper industry in the US is suffering, as we know. But an Indonesian billionaire thinks there’s room for another English-language paper in Jakarta. In November, James Riady launched the Jakarta Globe to compete head-to-head with the well-established Jakarta Post.

Today’s IHT has the story: “Indonesian billionaire takes on the Jakarta Post

That it is probably the worst time in history to start a daily newspaper is not, at least for the moment, on the minds of the people behind The Jakarta Globe.

The Globe, an English-language paper that hit the newsstands in November, is an unusual sight in this era of the shrinking – or disappearing – newspaper: It is a 48-page broadsheet, big enough to cover your desk when unfolded and painted head to toe in color.

The paper is backed by the billionaire James Riady, deputy chairman of the powerful Lippo Group and one of the wealthiest people in Indonesia, with interests including real estate, banking and retail.

Riady is also a budding media mogul. He owns the Indonesian business magazine Globe and is developing a Web portal and a cable television news channel.

“I think they are serious about creating a media empire, becoming the Rupert Murdoch of South East Asia,” said Lin Neumann, The Globe’s chief editor.

This snippet caught my eye, as well:

Neither The Post nor The Globe would discuss advertising revenue or circulation figures. Bayuni said The Globe had not yet cut into The Post’s circulation.

The papers’ editors, however, both pointed to Bangkok as an example of a market that has been able to sustain two English-language broadsheets, although Bangkok is a much bigger market than Jakarta. Both said they would aim at the growing Indonesian middle class – a group that is increasingly learning, working and reading in English. More than half of The Post’s readers are Indonesian, as opposed to expatriate, and The Globe, recognizing this trend, is betting on the local population to increase its market share.

And there’s this, about competition for journalists in Jakarta:

The two papers are fighting over journalists as well as readers. Finding experienced, English-speaking local journalists is not always easy here and the competition for them is high. The papers, however, are taking different approaches.

The Globe has put together a team of about 60 Indonesian reporters, recruiting from wire services like Agence France-Presse and Reuters. One of its deputy editors is Bhimanto Suwastoyo, who worked for AFP for more than 20 years and is widely considered one of the best local journalists.

The Post, on the other hand, has long been a training ground for local reporters looking to get their start in the industry. The paper offers a training program in exchange for service of as long as two years.

Often, Bayuni said, those reporters move on to more prestigious or lucrative positions. Bloomberg News employs six former Post reporters.


The Future of Newspapers — and online journalism

It’s no secret that the American newspaper industry is in trouble.

This New Yorker article by James Surowiecki from late December summarizes some of the problems:

  1. Advertising revenue is down. Way down. Department stores and real estate advertisers have been hit hard by the economic downturn. And online ads aren’t as lucrative as print ads.
  2. Fewer people subscribe to newspapers now. Surowiecki notes that “as a percentage of the population, newspapers have about half as many subscribers as they did four decades ago — but the Internet helped turn that slow puncture into a blowout.”
  3. Newspaper companies, critics say, have failed to innovate. Surowiecki says they’ve focused on the product — the newspaper — rather than the consumer.
  4. Ironically, papers like the New York Times are actually more widely-read now than, say, 10 years ago. But revenues are down since most readers are accessing the site online, for free.
  5. For solutions to the profit problem, Surowiecki points to a foundation/nonprofit model, bailouts from rich patrons, or increased online revenues.

Where do newspapers go from here?

Here are some resources for further reading:


CSM to cease daily print publication

Christian Science Paper to End Daily Print Edition. []