IS THERE ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD where people still rely on newspapers to tell them the news? Now I’m not talking about local news, like how come a fire engine went down Main Street yesterday afternoon, I mean big news. And I’m not referring to newspaper websites but to genuine, old-fashioned, printed newspapers. When was the last time a newspaper front page told you something you had not already seen or heard on tv, radio, or the web? I bet you can’t even remember.
Through all the years I’ve been working with news, experts have told us that in order to survive, newspapers should stop telling people what happened yesterday, because they already know. In 2020 (and, honestly, things were the same in 2010 and in 2000), the role of the printed newspaper – if any – has to be commenting, analyzing, explaining, delivering perspective on the news.
I thought this was something we all agreed upon?
SO, WELL, THESE FRONT PAGES really made me wonder. Certainly, the people making them are not stupid (and everything looks great, by the way). So why do they all – except the one below, which I think takes the story a step further – look exactly the same as they would have looked ages ago when there actually might be a fair chance that some readers did not yet know who had won the election?
My guess is these front pages were made for history. BIDEN BEATS TRUMP is not meant to be information as much as it is a statement. And many years from now, people can look at the newspaper from November 8, 2020, and think “wow, that was a great day”.
Today, however, I would have preferred that my newspaper tried to tell me why Biden won, why Trump lost, and what will happen next. And to be fair, newspapers – including the above – devote quite a lot of space to that kind of reporting as well. It’s just their front page choices that puzzle me.
AND HOW DID my own newspaper treat this story, you might ask? Well, we happen to not have a Sunday edition. Lucky me.