Evening Standard

Above: A man moving a trolley stacked with copies of the Evening Standard newspaper, March 2018. Credit: Oscopic.

Perverse News

In the age of the World Wide Web, the activities of preparing, printing and distributing a physical printed daily newspaper have become definitely perverse. (ODE: "the diversion of something from its original and proper course, state, or meaning; corruption, distortion ...") The perversity of newspaper-making is evidenced by the fact that the basic intended purpose of keeping the people well-informed is not achieved: any printed newspaper is inevitably 10 or 15 hours out-of-date by the time of its arrival to the end-purchaser. Many more-recent articles will be available--on the Web, and for free--whenever any printed newspaper arrives.

All that sourcing of newsprint paper; replenishing supplies of print-press inks; setting up and maintaining the Man-Roland and the Heidelberg printing presses; the factory activities of pagination and trimming; the loading of stacked newspapers on to lorries and trains; the organization and maintenance of a national retailing network; the associated admin effort to back all this up and keep it running smoothly day-after-day. And for what? For what? It is force of habit only. Making physical papers is a waste of time, which also produces tons of wasted unwanted newspapers each day--papers that cause endless effort to clean up; particularly the thousands of newspapers left on commuter trains and the Underground.

(18 March 2018)