As many may know I love paper.
I still need to hold history in my hands.
An avid collector of ephemera, along with hundreds of boxes filled with a century’s worth of vintage magazines I also collect newspapers past and present. The mundane and the momentous, the tragedies and the celebrations of the twentieth century as portrayed in print seem vital to me, even as newspapers themselves are on life support.
Newspapers, once our main source of receiving breaking news still remain for me tangible evidence of the facts. Seeing history in black and white makes it real for me in a very visceral way. There is a permanency in print. Unlike sound bites that disappear into the ether, print allows me to linger, and return again and again.
This past June when a good friend was in London during the historical Platinum Jubilee celebrating Queen Elizabeth’s historic 70 years on the throne, I excitedly asked her to buy several of the London newspaper for me to record the event. She returned with a stack of papers that I pored through happily chock full of pictures of a jubilant Queen acknowledging this milestone.
Carefully, I put them away in storage.
I never would have imagined that only three months later I would be collecting newspapers recording Queen Elizabeth’s death.
Despite there being wall-to-wall coverage on TV and online and I am not lacking for information, I needed to see the story in newsprint.
The heft and weight of a newspaper add to their import for me. The solemnity it provides is worthy of posterity. I suspect with each passing day with funeral plans and a new King more and more papers will be added to my collection.
The summer began with the jubilation of the celebration of Elizabeth’s historical reign, it has ended sadly with its finality.
Legitimate newspapers have the added depth of reportage that comes with professional standards for verification of facts.
Somewhere in every legitimate newsroom, there’s a cranky, hard-to-please editor who question each detail in a reporter’s story, aware that libel laws and a professional standard for accuracy drives a good newspaper’s reportage.
That’s what I miss.
“Fake news” doesn’t get disseminated by a New York Times, but, if it somehow does, the reporter is fired, and a follow-up correction and apology is printed in a prominent place.
Facebook fails in this regard, as do all the blogs that repeat what the posters find in other blogs without verification of the things reported. It’s no wonder some days it seems this country is disintegrating into chaos, thanks to the vast amount of ill-informed and uninformed people out there voting in anti-democratic fools.
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Sadly some newspapers are getting a bit sloppy due to so many cutbacks of staff and without the intense copy editing, they once had. Nonetheless, they are still the most reliable source in the cesspool of information and “opinions” being presented as news. If I write any piece on my blog that has a historical element, I am very vigilant to check and double-check sources and ascertain their credibility.