New Voice Project scribe Lorenzo Conti sits with Arts Editor of York’s ‘The Press’.
Why should people buy a newspaper instead of reading articles online?
I think people still like picking up a newspaper. Online you read the article down, vertically, and then an advert comes in and it irritates you, whereas on print you can turn the page, and there’s a whole spread of things to look at. Until they can make online read horizontally as well, I don’t think it begins to compare.
Because people are very narrow, I think that they choose what they read online. One of the miracles of a newspaper is that you pick up a paper and you don’t necessarily know what you want to read, and you’ll go beyond reading the specific things that you looked up. When people read articles online they bring a new philosophy to it: they bring that “speedy finger” that flicks through a mobile phone. This is the same mentality that brings to taking in news.
Do you feel it is a problem?
Yes, because people study things in less depth. I think we are in a very dangerous time for journalism, because also newspapers tend to do shorter articles, with fewer journalists involved. I write detailed pieces: I want to be long and accurate because I think it’s more rewarding to do that.
How is The Press?
A while ago, we had a readership of 85% of the city. It’s nothing like that now.
How can a newspaper get people’s attention?
The key is to trick people into wanting to read something. We have to acknowledge there are two forms of media at work. There’s instant media: if you’ve got a crash that takes place in the city, people want to know straight away what’s the impact on traffic flow. But I still think that a newspaper group has got that conviction in the need of more information. Not just what happened, where it happened and when it happened, newspapers still have to have the confidence to explain why it happened and what happens next.