Losses and challenges

The news about the closure of the Eleftheros Typos newspaper has catapulted the worldwide woes of the printed press onto the local stage. The redesigned ET was a modern or, perhaps, postmodern paper aiming to attract a younger generation of readers and Web-savvy 30-somethings. Design-wise, it was a worthy effort, but it failed because it never quite managed to find what it takes to connect with the reader: a distinct voice. The fact is that the press is under pressure across the globe. What are the roots of this? First is a lack of professionalism topped by a mixture of idleness and arrogance that so often leads to mistakes. No one is happy to see a newspaper carrying a detailed report of a high-profile meeting that never took place. Kathimerini itself made the mistake of mentioning the name of Turkey’s prime minister as among the persons who attended the opening of the New Acropolis Museum when it should have said that he had merely been invited to do so. But conveying the mood and details of a meeting that never happened is quite another. Such blunders hurt journalism at large. Once the ball of suspicion starts rolling, it sweeps everything aside in its path. The Internet is a second threat. I never envisioned myself reading Greek and foreign newspapers on my laptop while taking my morning coffee, as I have always considered myself a voracious newspaper reader. And yet I can see the trouble in attracting young readers, even though no newspaper has so far managed to make any real profit from the Web. If newspapers want to survive in the current environment, they will have to boost the quality of information as well as speed. Leaving the financial aspect aside, there are two paths ahead for newspapers: They can either degenerate into the dinosaurs of the information age or adapt fast and, perhaps, a bit rudely. It will be a path strewn with losses as well as challenges.