I had a call from an 85-year-old acquaintance last night. She had an amazing career and, in her ninth decade, remains one of the most socially and politically aware people I know, exceptionally well-read, always beyond party politics and looking to the wider, most balanced and inclusive argument to any debate. She is also someone with whom shooting the breeze is always an absolute pleasure; one of those people who can talk to a 20-year-old student in exactly the same way and as effortlessly as she would the chairman of the board.
She tells me that “taking the Sunday papers” (and several of them) has always been one of her “weekly joys”. This past weekend, however, she said, “I really couldn’t be bothered. I read a few short articles and then just threw them all in the recycling pile”. She asked me what paper I would take these days if I had to go out each morning and buy one and, truthfully, I was unable to answer.
I take no real pleasure in recounting our chat because I believe passionately in a free and thriving press but what it demonstrates surely is that as every week goes by much (most) of our print media is banging one nail after another into their respective coffins. And that is a tragedy.