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Thursday, 26 March 2020

Isolation Ward 49: Update #2 - Using a Typewriter to Write News From Home

Print newspapers have been teetering on the brink for some years, and Coronavirus may well push them over the edge. Yet Coronavirus is at the same time underlining the fact that we need print newspapers now more than ever. We need accurate information, and we need it to be completely comprehensible and in black and white.
Other than chats in her trackie daks (track suit pants for those non-Antipodeans reading this) from New Zealand's brilliant Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, it’s almost impossible to fully take in the advice being offered on TV or online. As ex-cricketer Shane Warne rightly pointed out, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s talks are next to useless. And as for being bombarded with often conflicting advice, we’ve found we have to take notes of any audio or video that makes any sense. We need words in clear, concise print to get our heads around things.
The extra problems print newspapers are now facing are enormous. If you’re in isolation, as we are, you can’t go out and buy one (no crosswords and quizzes to help kill time). If you have home delivery, or if a throwaway lobs on your front lawn, as the Canberra Chronicle does on ours once a week, you need to be careful about plastic wrapping and the newsprint paper itself. Wash your hands after opening, wash them after reading.
As businesses are forced to close down, Coronavirus will severely curtail newspaper display advertising and advertorials (about the only decent income they have left). I personally won’t be sad to see the end of travel and car supplements, or racing guides, but these represent massive revenue newspapers can ill afford to lose. Already Australian Associated Press remains set to close down in June, and if newspapers have to lay off reporting staff they’ll contain very little in the way of news content.
Our local rag, The Canberra Times, is a good case in point. Independently owned, it continues – for the time being - to serve a vital purpose. And just to prove that point, here is our friend, Times journalist and Typospherian Jasper Lindell, doing the right thing and working from home. When Earth Hour comes at 8.30pm on Saturday, Jasper is going to need that Olivetti Diaspron 82 typewriter on his right. And as time goes on, he may well need it even more often!

1 comment:

Bill M said...

Similar problems here in the States.
We have Trumpformation and then we have accurate information from the Doctors and Scientists.
Hopefully all the industries that are shut down will be able to reopen successfully when all this comes to a stop.

Hope you and yours are doing fine through all of this.

Do your best to stay healthy.