Hicks: Newspapers under attack from all directions

Columbine Courier: It was in the early 1980s — I was a mere child — when I first started thumbing through the daily newspaper. I immediately flipped to the sports pages and then usually the comics or vice-versa.

I walked to the nearby 7-Eleven weekly and brought neighboring papers — the Washington Post or the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch, to name a few — just so I could thumb through their coverage and clip out advertisements to save for my own personal collection.

It was the start of my fascination with newspapers, a fascination that has grown since 1990, when I began my journalism career.
But newspapers nowadays are under attack. Not just journalists themselves but the newspaper industry as a whole. And the attacks are coming from all directions, including corporate owners and government officials — both state and federal.

It’s the notion that all that we do is produce fake news. It’s the proposal of higher import tariffs that would cripple the cost of newsprint. It’s the state legislature pondering pulling public notices out of newspapers and placing them solely online. It’s selfish corporate owners who gut their newsrooms to the bare minimum.

And it’s not just newspapers, but journalists, who on the TV side have had to abandon their journalistic integrity to benefit the political belief of their corporate owners by reading one-sided propaganda or else fear the termination of their employment.
Certainly, the internet and social media, in particular, have taken their toll on newsprint and how people consume the news. Cable television, in particular 24-hour news channels, haven’t helped. That, however, doesn’t mean that newspapers are obsolete or don’t serve a purpose. They do.

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