Dying the world over: Newspapers today

Newspapers not what they used to be. Alan Taylor looks at today’s newsroom.

At my old newspapers [( Edinburgh) Herald and Scotsman], today’s fillers of the front page rarely leave their desks, let alone the office. Instead they tweet like demented birds, fill in Freedom of Information forms and embellish press releases.

Verbal communication is kept to a minimum; even colleagues sitting side by side prefer to send emails rather than use their vocal cords.

Anyone suspected of having had a liquid lunch can expect to be collared by “Human Resources”.

Meanwhile, edicts from on high emphasize the imperative to feed the voracious beast that is the website and tailor “content” to whatever will attract the greatest number of “hits”, in the belief that this will increase advertising and thus protect jobs.

Towards the end of my tenure, fearful of catching something contagious, I rationed my visits to the office. Whenever I did drop by, it was eerily empty and the silence was unnatural, like that in a movie which foretells something awful about to happen.

Thus he concludes a half-page “Freelance” piece in Times Literary Supplement. Subscription needed: Freelance | TLS

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