A new newspaper was born today, The Saturday Paper.
A heartfelt “Congratulation” to the many, brave parents. To bring up a new baby in our times is an undertaking that requires a lot of stamina, financial commitment and lots of love.
This new paper promises to be a quality paper. But do we have a quality readership? A readership that puts the dollar where the mouth is. We used to have a quality weekly (The National Times) from 1971 to 1986. It is defunct because, despite its high quality content, did not make enough money.
How will the new paper, in our new electronic age fare?
I’m an avid newspaper reader and have always been. In fact I can not remember not reading a newspaper. Newspaper reading must pre-date my school years. Whereby the word “reading” must not been taken literally, of course. But as soon I could stitch the letters into words I started reading. The same with shop signs. One can “read” the name of the shop before one actually can read.
When I came to Australia, I started to read “The Age” and when we moved to NSW I switched to “The Sydney Morning Herald”. It helped me greatly to learn English. During the last year many good journalists have left the paper. Some of them write for the Guardian and some are with the Saturday Paper. Refugees are everywhere in all shape and forms.
I have seen a lot new newspapers in my life. After the war in Germany a raft of new papers came to the news stands. People were eager to see papers that at least sometimes write the truth. One of them, Der Tagesspiegel, I’m still reading today. On the internet of course.
On the 1 October 1810 Heinrich von Kleist published a new newspaper in Berlin (Berliner Abendblaetter). He must have felt that his paper wouldn’t last long because he knew that people “were only interested in their blindness, in wretchedness and trivialities”. It was a bad time for newspapers. Berlin was occupied by the French, under Napoleon, and censorship was harsh. The paper lasted only six months and a further seven months later Kleist committed suicide in a suicide pact. He was depressed for many reasons. His fiancée suffered from cancer and he hated Napoleon and saw no future for himself.
I hope the publishers of our new paper fare a little bit better. But you never know under our PM Abbott, who doesn’t like the public to be informed. Anything is possible. He has attacked our ABC and will do anything to neuter it.
I wish the publishers of the new paper all the luck they can get – and more.