20 March 2009

The Guardian or the local rag?

Newspaper readership, we are told, is declining. That may or not be true. No doubt the readership of hard copy newspapers is declining, but I suspect readership of the web versions is increasing. It certainly has for me. I still buy a daily paper -- as I mentioned on a previous post, I'm addicted -- but I also do a lot of newspaper reading online. In fact, I have a routine which I follow most days. Starting with the CBC website, I then do the Guardian, Al Jazeera and the New York Times, in that order. And maybe one or two others if it's a slow morning.

I have little interest in my local papers, the Calgary Sun and the Calgary Herald. Both right-wing, they have little to say to me, and why would I buy a second or third-rate paper when I can read the best in the world such as the Guardian and the New York times -- and for free? This, I suspect, is the case with many readers. They haven't given up on newspapers, they've just given up on their local rag.

Eventually a day of reckoning will come, of course. The papers almost certainly can't make enough money from advertising on their websites to keep their newsrooms going, so presumably one day they will have to charge for reading their online versions. That will be fine with me. At least I'll be able to support a first-rate newspaper rather than a second-rate one. In the meantime, I'll just enjoy the free ride.


  1. I hear that, Bill. British Columbia is, of course, all CanWest/all the time. They've got all three major dailies and pretty much all of the smaller community papers especially here on Vancouver Island. I used to get the Globe delivered but I finally just couldn't stomach Blatchford, Wente and Marcus Gee any longer so I dropped my subscription.

    Now I have a nicely stacked list of bookmarks for online papers. I do the NYT, Guardian, CBC, TorStar, G&M, NatPo, McClatchey, LAT, WaPo, Sydney Morning Herald and Asia Times. I have a second tier that I try to go through weekly - Haaretz, der Spiegel and a gaggle of English-language online papers from Africa, Europe and Asia.

    When I was a young reporter I used to take the Ottawa Citizen, Guardian, Gazette & G&M. I knew it was time to clean my apartment when I could no longer see the carpet for the newspapers.

  2. Mound ...

    I agree with you on Blatchford, Wente and Gee; however, I rarely read them, so it doesn't much matter. In any case, Allemang, Salutin and Southey are a good antidote.

    Wow! That's quite a reading list. I am impressed.