The changing role of the newspaper

On the heels of yesterday’s post, I started thinking seriously about newspapers.

Teaching Grade 9 Business, I had a subscription to the Globe and Mail and used it in class. It was a great resource for current stories about business. It was also a favourite of the teacher I shared the room with who would enjoy a read after our class. There were times when it would end up on the reading table in our department work area. I didn’t read it from front to back – I was basically reading the top news stories, looking to see what was in Report on Business and Report on Sport. It allowed me to authentically bring the world of business into our classroom. When that wasn’t enough, we had an awesome teacher-librarian who had other papers available on demand.

Today, though, things are different. As we know, these newspapers all have an internet presence where they post the same content that you’d find in print plus exploiting computer technology with full colour pictures, movies, and very aggressive advertising and some have paywalls. All three of the Toronto major newspapers – Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, and Toronto Sun – use the same approach. Some content is free, the rest is available if you’re a paid subscriber.

Locally, we have one newspaper Windsor Star which is part of the PostMedia Chain. Our community has the Rivertown Times which is free on the web and also in print at certain locations. The editor is a former student and is constantly writing and taking pictures around town.

Often, the choice of website to land on depends on the editorial bent of the newspaper. It’s one of the things that they do to differentiate themselves. With the exception of the local newspaper, I can’t remember when I last read any newspaper from cover to cover.

In place of a single newspaper and its content, I prefer to gather information from the web from various sources and various opinions. There was a time when I thought that reading a newspaper from cover to cover made me think and that was enough. Now, I’m more prodded by a variety of inputs. Certainly, you can find any variety of opinion if you’re willing to search for it.

In competition with the traditional newspapers, we have other options. Local television and radio stations provide the latest news free of charge (although not free of advertising.) So, in addition to our traditional newspaper, we have Blackburn News, CBC Windsor, CTV Windsor, Windsorite, to name but a few. Since they’re all reporting from the same region, the lead stories are often the same and then it diverges from there. It’s the same for any major city.

So, where does that leave the traditional newspaper? It’s got to be a tough spot. We have a society that is increasingly appreciative of differing points of view and they are but a click away.

Some of the sources are trending towards more of a tabloid approach to its readers. We’ve seen the trend in educational software – EDUtainment and now it’s appearing in other places under the guise of editorialists. The traditional role of the newspaper is changing and I think we all recognise it as a case of surviving in a world of mixed media. They were king when news was what came out on paper. They’re now fighting for survival in different media. In order to survive, they need to provide value that supercedes what can be accessed from free and open sources.

It isn’t going to be easy. Even sitting down and pondering the online presence versus the presence when they were newsprint only shows that so much has changed. Is it going to be enough?


OTR Links 06/30/2021

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Maybe this explains it

One of my evening habits is to read the OLDaily from Stephen Downes. I use his free subscription service and am ready to do some reading once it arrives.

More often than not, he takes me into places that I wouldn’t normally go. Heck, much of the time he takes me to places that I didn’t even know existed! The end result is that I’m just a bit more knowledgeable than before I read his thoughts about resources and then I click through to read the original document.

A couple of times, I’ve read articles that are curated by my other sources – typically Flipboard and/or News360 – shared with anyone who cares to follow them and then they get back to me indicating that the article is behind a paywall. It’s hard to respond since you never know how others have things configured and, quite frankly, it worked on my end. I’d never share a resource that I hadn’t read myself.

Last week, Stephen included this resource in one of his daily newsletters.

I think I know Stephen’s thoughts about paywalls and so know how that he would have dug through this article. I was off to read it as well. I went into the article naively thinking that a paywall was either there or it wasn’t. I left the article amazed after learning about the Sophi Artificial Intelligence.

Does this explain why there are times that I can read an article yet others cannot. Had I stumbled right into this?

I recognise that some information providers are inclined to charge for access and others put it online and use other techniques to pay their bills. Somehow, this fits in the middle and, by design, muddles the situation.

The more you know, the more you know. This is a perfect example or why I like to read and learn.

Just when a topic like this seems to be black and white, we get this shade of grey!

OTR Links 06/29/2021

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.


It’s been a little learning about new things around here with the announcement from Microsoft about Windows 11 last week. The company shared much information about the upgrade including this one little thing that I’d never heard of but sure stirred up the community.

It’s a thing called TPM – Trusted Platform Module. In my typical nerdy world, this is the sort of thing that I’d be very curious about and muck around with just because I could. However, the uproar from the community meant that it was much more than just a new thing. It was a show stopper and will stop many people from being able to upgrade their computer to Windows 11. That raised the importance.

Now, this isn’t the first time that I’ve had a company pull the rug out from under me. My MacBook Pro hit the end of the line for MacOS upgrades a while back. With the exception of flaky bluetooth, it seems to be running well. The best thing I ever did for it was to replace the hard drive and move to an SSD. Of course, I paid way more at the time for the drive than what I could get for it today but that’s life.

So, is this going to happen again? I just got this computer.

Well, time flies! My “new” computer is actually older than I think. I have an external keyboard and mouse so it actually looks like it’s kind of just out of the box, no showing the signs of wear. I specifically wanted a lot of memory and an i7 processor when I bought a computer and I got it. When you read about Intel processors, you actually see them referenced by code name and, quite frankly, I didn’t know what kind of Lake processor I had. That was tough when I read this article because it requires a knowledge of that sort of thing. I haven’t worn off the Intel stick on the keyboard so it claims to be a Core i7 8th Gen which I guess is a Coffee Lake processor. When I look at the article, that appears to be a processor that is supported so I had a good feeling.

Microsoft, on its website, has a page devoted to the upgrade located here. I was interacting with Miguel Guhlin and he pointed to the PC Health Check application. I downloaded it, ran it, and

So, two pieces of good news. I can run Windows 11 and it’s free.

As I headed back, Miguel pointed to a checker that he felt had better utility. It’s called WhyNotWin11.

I ran it and now feel really good about my chances of running Windows 11.

In a back and forth with Miguel, he didn’t have TPM and was working at it. He did find a solution and blogged about it here. This may be helpful for a LOT of people going forward.

Now, for the confession. I was a little nervous that the only way to upgrade was to buy a new PC. Quite frankly, I don’t mind Windows 10 but there are some annoyances like having to use the legacy Control Panel at times. It seems to me by now that it should have migrated everything to the Settings button. Or maybe it has and I can’t just find it.

I was prepared to just move to Linux full time instead of dual booting. Like most people these days, I seldom actually have to have dedicated applications since most things are down in the browser. Besides, it does actually take me a few years to get a computer configured to my liking. I’m forever tweaking and moving things in from backups. I’d not done with that process yet!

I guess that the bottom line is that I was fortunate to upgrade when I did although there are always bright and shiny things out there. If the community is speaking clearly, there are going to be a lot of people who won’t be in a position to upgrade.