I was in my local corner shop today, buying myself a weeks’ worth of Tilda boil-in-the-bag rice and something caught my attention. Aside from being diverted by the extremely good deal on Maryland cookies, I saw an array of equally depressing newspaper headlines. The York Press was reporting on a cinema closure; The Sun had some reality show gossip as major news on its front, drawing in those ever-diligent news hounds; The Guardian was perpetuating the claim that the Grenfell Tower fire was political murder and the front page of The Mirror looked like something from a scene in the film Idiocracy.
The depressing selection, like a satirical cosmic chocolate box, made me think about the newspaper industry on a whole. In the UK at least, most news outlets on the television make the claim that they are always ever impartial yet when it comes to our newspapers it’s a political free for all. Considering most of the major papers are owned by Rupert Murdoch, it’s not a complete surprise why the Conservatives won the election. On a side note, it’s becoming clearer that the influence of print journalism is dying as its readership, considering it was only today that a government was formed, nearly three weeks after the election.
My English teacher told me during the linguistics module of my course that The Sun has a reading age of seven years old. ‘Britain’s most popular paper’ happens to only be that because it’s the easiest to read similarly reflective to the LadBible’s online popularity. Perhaps the slow death of the newspaper is simply down to humanity’s growing laziness in regard to reading. Has it really got to a point where we don’t care about what we’re being told as long as it’s being served in easy to digest chunks? I can’t speak for other territories but I doubt the problem is local to this fair, green isle. Arguably, it can be easily transferred to rolling news channels, where the sound bite would be a far more powerful narrative to whatever agenda perpetuating it, than the actual story – enter all this damn fake news and click bait.
It’s going to be, and in a sense, has become a constant cycle. Readers will turn to social media news sources for sake of ease; the papers will adapt to accommodate the readership; the news channels will perpetuate the problem until an entire week’s worth of news can be boiled down to two words. Those words being: ‘shit happened.’