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General Paper Essay Outline : In the digital age, do newspapers still have a role in your society ?

This is not a new question, but the answers below are so different from what we got from past years, partly because we have observed more carefully how the internet & newspapers have evolved.

Disclaimer : Here are just some ideas. This outline is not meant to be taken as the only or final answer to the question.

warning handle with care

Yes :

– Important role of newspapers as the main platform for the government to disseminate information & propagate ideas to the masses

– There are some categories of people who are not IT-savvy, or do not have ready internet access. They still rely on the conventional newspaper.

– In Sg, there is still sufficient regard for the credibility and professionalism of the state-linked mainstream newspaper. This is especially seen in the way online news sites or commentary sites and blogs use the articles from the newspapers to develop their articles. Although some sites carry out careful and in-depth analysis, others commit “churnalism” which is when other sites simply re-hash what the newspapers already print. Either way, the value of newspapers is reinforced.

– While we acknowledge that some social commentary sites do have their own reporters who cover the news on the ground and thus act as an alternative to the journalistic work of the mainstream newspapers, these online media groups do not necessarily have the means or manpower to be as extensive in their efforts as the mainstream newspaper.

– The local newspapers keep up with times to ensure their relevance e.g. online versions, with accompanying online forums to meet the demands for greater discussion between the readers and editors or among the readers. Newspapers in Sg also include articles from other international papers like the Washington Post and the New York Times to fulfil the desire for more sources of news (Of course the discerning reader still understands that these articles have been carefully selected to meet the agendas of the Sg newspapers). Newspapers are even on Twitter to fulfil the desire for immediacy in reporting.

– Cyberspace is too expansive. And we are all so busy. As such, focused reading of pre-selected material in the newspapers that present Sg’s immediate concerns might not be a bad idea after all. We should get hold of news and information that matters to us most.

– In any case, we also know that the mainstream newspapers in Sg cannot afford to ignore the hottest news that have gone viral online. No matter how controversial or taboo the matter is, the local newspapers will have to carry such stories in a bid not to lose its readership. Otherwise, netizens who catch the newspapers being silent on ‘hot’ issues will decry the newspapers for being shackled by the government. What this means is that newspaper readers benefit from getting a clear presentation of such issues without having to trawl through pages and pages of online opinions which are usually a chaotic mix of reason, ranting, humour and, most unfortunately, hate .



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