Illustrations by Hannah Robinson
In the current climate, coherent, reliable and expert reporting is indispensable. The outbreak of Covid-19 and the dissemination of information to the public regarding its status have placed many of Britain’s media outlets in the limelight. It has also exposed the back channels of misinformation which have been swirling around social media. From WhatsApp to Twitter to Facebook, internet conspiracy theories are rife.
That is why the maintenance of a robust foundation of journalism is imperative. Just last weekend, a number of celebrities took to their Twitter feeds and their Instagram stories to fuel the false claim that the UK’s 5G network is causing coronavirus. Such an irresponsible misuse of information led to attacks on a number of 5G masts across the country, despite the fact that the virus has nothing to do with this new technology. In order to debunk theories such as these, we need a well-oiled and functional press.
Britain’s newspapers are the backbone of British media. One of the oldest of all journalistic outlets, the UK has always had a number of exceptional publications going far and beyond the call of duty in order to keep the British public informed. While balance is an issue for another article, having an adequate foundation and diversity of publications is crucial to a functioning democracy.
Still, the UK’s print press is struggling. It has been for a while, with a number of publications making the decision to transfer to online only due to dwindling print funds and the movement of news consumption to online platforms. At the time of writing, the Jewish Chronicle has just gone under. Many of Britain’s most beloved news outlets are buckling not just under the pressure of a decrease in circulation but of the strains being enacted by the outbreak of covid-19.
Indeed, the movement of consumers away from print media and onto smartphones, tablets and laptops has pitted a challenge (although perhaps not an existential one) to many of the UK’s news outlets. Many have upped the corollary of their online output, with publications such as The Independent moving solely online. The decline of print press is an issue which can be taken head on. But it requires the support of consumers.
Many publications now have paywalls up on their content. While these may prove annoying, if you are reading more than two or three articles a week from the same publication, it may be worth subscribing. Currently, many magazines, newspapers and journals are offering discounted subscription rates to entice potential readers. Giving these publications your support is vital to keep them going. So next time you’re out buying your essentials on your weekly shop (don’t go out if you don’t need to, you can also subscribe and have your magazine or paper of choice delivered to your door), consider picking up something from the newsstand.
Ensuring the upkeep of Britain’s diverse array of reading material is something which we should all be putting our minds to, if we have the means to do so. Imagine if the only content you could get your hands on came from a single newspaper, with a single style of writing and a single editorial line – we would all be far worse informed and far less engaged. Support the UK Press and keep these publications going!