Every day throughout London, tourists, visitors and Londoners alike read thousands and thousands of free newspapers. In the morning you can pick up a free copy of Metro from the iconic blue stands in any Underground station.
In the afternoon, the London Evening-Standard workers hit the streets hawking free newspapers for all.
In London, print journalism is alive and well; there is incredible access to free print information and a multitude of subscription newspapers as well (The New York Times, The Guardian, The Independent and The Daily Telegraph, just to name a few).
London, and the United Kingdom as a whole, has been hit by the movement away from print journalism, but, unlike many Americans, the British passionately support these print publications even amid the growing popularity of online news aggregates, social media and online journalism.
The British, more so than Americans, seem to understand the importance of the printed newspaper as a stalwart defender of the public’s right to be informed and a constant source of exposing the corrupt aspects of our society.
New York Magazine also announced this week that they would only be publishing every two weeks starting in 2014. This publication, along with other magazines like Newsweek and newspapers across America, is cutting back print publication due to a lack of readership and, therefore, revenue.
The cutbacks are not the problem; the decline in readership is. We have become a society in which many define their days in 140-character statements, a society that constantly refreshes webpages for the newest information without taking time to reflect. This craving for brevity leads to the sensationalizing of what could be incredibly unimportant in the grand scheme of things.
I do have a Twitter account, and I do read the news online, but I would never want that to be my only way to receive information or to interact with the world. Newspapers allow the reader to reflect on a story, to interact with it and to develop an opinion on it.
The reporting for print articles is not done hastily and normally allows time for the story to develop completely instead of reporting immediately and risking getting a key fact wrong. Immediacy is a great advantage of online journalism, but without a balance between reporting and analysis, it becomes less important.
I am eternally grateful that there are still places in which the print media is still a key part of the fabric of the community, and London is such a place where you can pick up a paper, hop on the tube and simply read and enjoy.