It’s a flat thing made of paper, which you can wrap your sandwich into, you can use it in the rain as an umbrella or as a pillow when you’re sitting on a bench in the park – what is it? It’s the newspaper! Of course the mentioned functions of it are not the most important ones, but according to some opinions in a few years or decades printed press will lose its reason for existence and vanish from the market. So, if in the year 2050 you want to find a newspaper, you shouldn’t go to a newsagent but at a bag store, where they pad the bags with newspaper so that they don’t lose their shape.
All this shouldn’t happen if printed and online media could live together like good friends. Online media shouldn’t squeeze out the printed press but respect it like the young respect the old. When we talk about future journalism, we mention internet most of the time. Many people think that printed press has existed for several hundred years, so now its time is up. But we shouldn’t forget those nice old days we’ve spent together. When you get up early in the morning, go to the kitchen, make yourself a coffee, put your legs comfortably on the chair and open the paper. Or you’re travelling on the subway to work: it’s a long way, you are bored, so you hold on with one hand and in the other there’s your newspaper you can read until you arrive. Or you’re in a nice park lying in the grass, there’s no one else around, everything is quiet. And there are no electric outlets, you can’t use your laptop, so you end up with your old friend: the newspaper. And so on.
Reading a newspaper doesn’t mean only getting the news. You open it, you feel the touch of the pages, smell the scent of the paper and the ink, you sit down in a comfortable armchair, and as you turn pages, the paper almost covers you and hides you from the outside world. Reading a paper is not a simple activity; it’s a ritual. Like when you smoke a cigar: you don’t do it just for the nicotine; you like to have it, to hold it, to smell it.
Generations grew up reading newspapers: our grandparents saw our great-grandmother washing the dishes in the kitchen while our great-grandfather was having breakfast and reading the paper. Our parents and we also saw that at home, but maybe our grandchildren won’t see it anymore. The children of the new generation sitting at the breakfast table with their laptops or they don’t even come to the kitchen to have breakfast, just grab a sandwich quickly in their room while surfing the internet.
We don’t have time anymore. In the morning we run to work, at the end of the day we run back home, we don’t cook anything but order some Chinese food by phone. After dinner we don’t talk to each other just watch the evening news or a stupid action movie and fall into bed. Reading a paper requires time: to stop in the run and have a little rest, to care about yourself for a while. But we can’t do that anymore: we don’t have time for others, how could we have some for ourselves?
Development doesn’t mean we have to throw everything old away. We could be happy for the new ones and keep the old ones as well. Internet is a wonderful thing full of opportunities we have to make the best of. Hopefully in fifty years everyone will have a connection and can be informed of all the things that happen in the world at the same time. But in fifty years we’ll still need a little rest. To doss down somewhere, switch off our mind and read a newspaper. Because no matter how great Internet is, in some aspects it can’t replace printed press. Just think about a sunny day: could you sleep on the beach with a laptop on your face? There you are.
By: Szilvia Mohai (Hungary)