NEWSPAPER production is still a fascinating topic for many outside the trade, despite the increasing dominance of digital media.
Even young people are more enthusiastic about developing a printed product than an immediate but less tangible web-site.
Personally I find the Victorian technology of newspapers very limited by comparison with modern means of communication and I keep asking how long it can remain commercially viable.
I have been pondering the question for some years, but in that time the number of printed publications and the size of each seems to have remained the same.
A trip to Addington High School last week prompted me to consider the question once more. I was there to take part in an interactive session designed to stimulate interest in starting a student publication, firstly in the school, but later borough-wide.
A total of 35 students turned up for the session, exceeding all expectations, and their enthusiasm was undeniable. They were given time sion to suggest ideas for stories and their immediate response was enough to gladden the heart of even the most jaundiced news editor.
They were also asked to suggest the jobs in the production process for which they felt best suited. I assumed everyone would want to be boss, but I was impressed by the number who had grasped the importance of the sub-editor's role or who wanted to be a humble reporter or photographer.
In fact, I was so impressed by the students' enthusiasm that I'm going back during the production process to watch this first edition taking shape.
Our lives are so influenced by the media that I think it is important for people to understand how stories reach them - particularly the distortions that can creep in along the way if sloppy sub-editing allows an influential person's opinion to become fused with fact.
And the best way to alert people to this always possible problem and to ensure they take account of it when they're watching the news or reading the paper is to let them experience the process for themselves.
Croydon Eye is a weekly commentary written exclusively for The Best of Croydon by David Callam and posted in the blog section every Thursday.
David Callam is a freelance journalist and the former business editor of The Croydon Advertiser. For more examples of his work and to see what he could do for your business please visit www.callamedia.co.uk
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