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Heidi Kingstone Headshot

Why We Don't Read Papers Anymore

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For decades newspapers have chased the elusive younger reader in an attempt to boost circulation. Ironic of course in light of events which overtook the industry as we know all too well. No one young reads newspapers, and no one older either it seems.

So, when I picked up a copy of one Canada's prominent papers, the Globe and Mail, and read the book page, it hardly surprised me that we in print are in such a state of crisis -- regardless of the revolutionary technical changes.

The reviewer gushed about what different age groups would read -- although it is novel (pardon the pun) to think that you could only read Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children for example if you were a certain age. The reviewer said she couldn't suggest what a 40-year old might like to read, as she was only 24. Then why write the piece? If that's how you are going to break it down get someone who either knows what they're doing or isn't quite so stupid as not to be able to work it out. Why would I continue to read it? I didn't.

The UK industry isn't much better. In a country of about 60 million people with endless newspapers, websites and magazines, you end up reading the same 50 people in all of them, dispiriting, monotonous and boring. The class system has changed but here it is still very much who you know, where you went to school or university and if you have famous parents or ancestors (practically going back to the Magna Carta), making for a dull scene.

Take Sophie Dahl with her big bug eyes staring out of her emaciated vapid face in her piece in Elle Decoration (even there you expect better journalism.) Her grandfather was author Roald Dahl. In one article on food, which is what the talentless resort to in Britain today -- the current version of home ec -- she opines: "My beloved is a musician. Homemade bread, a strong cup of tea and Miles Davis on the stereo makes him a happy fellow of a morning." My beloved? Of a morning? Who writes crap like this? Too many people it seems.