On Newspapers

You can't get a newspaper up there, but you _can_ get 3G.

I know I lead a fairly comfortable life. I mean, I’m not living out of a thatched hut somewhere in the hills, foraging for food. It’s not like I live in Kandy. For Sri Lanka, I know I lead an above average lifestyle in terms of creature comforts. Mostly in the form of how much technology I consume, like the internet and various gadgets. As such, I might have a very skewed view of how people expect their content delivered.

In the course of my average day, I come across plenty of newspapers, of all sorts. Top uses for them include:

  • Lying around in piles waiting for the bothal-kaaraya to come carry them off
  • Wrapping my lunch packets
  • Impromptu table-mat
  • I frequently use little strips to pad the extra space between the pump nozzle and the bicycle wheel’s valve

A long time ago I used to actually read the things. They carried the news, and cartoons. The news seemed to come from a different perspective on each paper, the cartoons were mostly the same. After a while I got used to getting my cartoons off the internet, so I just stopped reading the newspaper. Now, I just wonder why we waste a colossal amount of resources on publishing what is essentially an archaic form of communication. Sure, it gets you the news, but it reeks of slapping a jet engine in a horse drawn carriage.

So many wasted trees. The Sunday papers weigh in at about a kilo but most are half full of advertising supplements. It’s like you’re paying to see advertising. Personally, I just occasionally go over the local news websites, and stick to Twitter for the important stuff. Mostly because the local news sites are terrible, causing me palpitations to just look at them. Fair enough that most people wouldn’t know how to even use the internet, but come one, I know a lot of you internet dwellers still buy the thing.

In an ideal world, everyone would know how to get what they want through electronic means. No distributing piles of flattened tree-pulp around like it’s the year 200. No more gallons of ink used and discarded in the space of a day. You could probably have Holi every day and not use up as much dye as it takes to print the Daily Mirror each day.

Once the sinhalese/tamil newspapers figure out Unicode, and the people finally decide to embrace technology that’s been around for two decades now, maybe we’ll finally see the physical newspaper die off, and another little bit of Old Media disappear along with it.

Oh, and Happy New Year, to whoever celebrates it. Thanks for the sweet meats.


5 Responses to “On Newspapers”

  1. April 14, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Well unlike you there are quite a lot of people across the island who aren’t tech savvy (or can afford computers). So they rely on newspapers. But I think in time to come newspapers will be obsolete; and yes that would be a bonus for the environment. I’m looking forward to that.

    • April 14, 2012 at 12:31 pm

      Yeah, soon.

      I did some quick calculations and you can actually get a cheap e-reader for the price you pay for newspapers every five years or so.

  2. April 16, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    Down with the tree pulp people! šŸ˜€

  3. August 14, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    but… but…. what will I wrap my lunch packets with???

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