The decline of newspapers is a very dangerous thing in this world where accountability and the need to evaluate daily what our culture and systems of rule are up to. A newspaper sits around on a table, a chair, it can be left open on a page that one might not look at, but stumbling on it something catches our eye. Newspapers are without a doubt the most important informational tool that exists, because it isn't fleeting and it has the power to remain at our fingertips for days, weeks and even years, to be evaluated and reevaluated fully.
TV and the internet are based on snipets of information that are -"produced" to have an appeal. Yes it can be said of newspapers as well who use design to better convey stories to certain groups of people using photographs and illustrations to attract the eye--or certain types of wording/phrasing etc...
But the newspaper has an accountability unlike its brothers in the media. It lasts and isn't something that can be easily recounted or forgotten by the next piece of information. The information in a newspaper isn't replaced in an hour or a day or two--it is added to and doesn't become hidden by the makers--it can't, once we make it and deliver it it is no longer ours. The internet can have stories and photos completely pulled after publication. Many keep their content in archives, but you need to find it. The internet is a great communication tool, but it shouldn't be at the expense of newspapers.
In photography what is lost? That single frame of life that encapsulates a moment in time. To be studied and really examined for all of its emotive and informational properties. Now we put together multiple photo slideshows and videos. These are wonderful, but we need to also remember the power of that instant in time frozen. I would guess that many more people remember Eddie Adams still photograph of a Vietcong soldier being shot in the head in 1968 by a South Vietnamese officer - than they remember the movie footage of the same event. That one frame by Adams allows us to pause and reflect in such a way that we gain a deeper understanding of ourselves.
Even at small daily newspapers this strength of analyzing still photographs, even if it is just a high school girls basketball game helps us really know ourselves better. It allows us to connect to the subjects and the creator of the image to reflect on our life and times and place.
If we allow newspapers to go away we'll be doing a huge disservice to mankind and create an even easier time for individuals of power, including the folks in the media, to persuade and corrupt.
Perhaps this past year has been a good wake up call for us to become better at what we do again, but we shouldn't as members of the media, and the people, young and old, allow newspapers to go away and become strictly internet based operations. The accountability of our profession will be lost, and so will our integrity.
"Is your nose cold mum?" George asked Louise as they sat outside during an annual family Christmas photo shoot. This is a small example of some of what can be lost if we don't pause to look at pictures. This funny picture says a great deal. A son taking care of an elderly mother who has AD, he is separated from the rest of the family to care for his mom and to share moments with her while she is still around. It shows a comfort level between the two and as Louise smiles she indicates that AD hasn't completely taken her over. Yes pictures like this can function in cyberspace, but this picture published in the paper can be looked at again and again over time and even more can be gotten from it.