Fate of newspapers in the hands of the young

WE MAY have good and relevant newspapers, but whether they will survive in the long term is another matter (‘Integrity will help newspapers stay relevant’; last Saturday).

Newspapers do a better job than other media in engaging the public to think and analyse issues deeper, through more in-depth and balanced reporting. They also present more broad-based public views and concerns.

Newspapers are indispensable in explaining national issues and help the country build and reinforce common grounds or reference points amid the diversities of race, culture, language, belief, habit and place of birth; they are important institutions that shape our future, in a thoughtful and responsible manner.

Major newspapers are like big rivers and canals. They play the lead role in the gathering and dissemination of information. If they stagnate and lose their dynamism, small zigzagging streams may overwhelm and flood the land.

Although mainstream dailies also produce digital editions, it is the printed copies that make the money.

Before the digital version becomes the breadwinner, if ever, it is too risky to let the print version wane and vanish.

Negligence in saving newspapers could be costly.

The fate of newspapers is in the hands of younger Singaporeans. If they recognise that newspapers are important to save, there is hope that these important institutions will survive for a few more decades.

We need to do much more to attract younger readers and engage them.

The Government can help by making newspapers more widely used as teaching materials for languages and current affairs in schools.

The Straits Times could start a separate Forum page for younger readers.

Encourage companies to include newspaper subscriptions as part of staff benefits, especially for the younger employees.

Ng Ya Ken

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