In the digital age, most people get their news instantly from smartphones, computers, tablets, and social media. While these modern options provide convenience and real-time updates, there is something nostalgic about catching up on current events the old-fashioned way. This article explores the benefits, drawbacks, and overview of getting news the old school way through newspapers, radio, and television.
The Allure of Old School News Sources
There are several reasons why old school news sources still have appeal:
Reading a physical newspaper or magazine, listening to the radio, or watching the evening news evokes nostalgia for bygone eras. These classic formats remind people of simpler times.
Making time for a daily newspaper, tuning into a favorite radio program, or catching the nightly news can be comforting routines. They offer a sense of normalcy amidst the hectic pace of modern life.
While online news provides brevity, old school sources tend to feature more in-depth, investigative reporting. Newspapers have sections dedicated to politics, business, arts, and more.
Sitting down with a newspaper or magazine promotes relaxation. Listeners find radio shows provide company. Watching television news can feel like an evening routine.
Break from Screens
After constant digital stimulation, reading print news gives the eyes a break from screens. Radio and TV also feel less intensive than online browsing.
Studies show people are more likely to retain information from print versus digital. The tactile experience of handling newspapers improves memory.
The Drawbacks of Old School News
While old school news sources have their benefits, there are some definite drawbacks to consider:
Lack of Immediacy
There is no breaking news with old school sources. By the time newspapers, radio, or television deliver information, it is no longer current.
Accessing old school news takes more effort. Readers must buy newspapers or tune in at a scheduled broadcast time versus getting instant online updates.
The news reach of old school options is narrower with set print content or broadcast times. Online news offers unlimited stories continuously updated.
Readership of print newspapers and viewership of network news has dramatically declined. Most prefer real-time news updates from digital sources.
There is no customization or interaction with old school news. Users cannot click on hyperlinks, comment, share, or customize content.
Newspaper and magazine subscriptions cost more than free online news access. Radio and cable/satellite television also require monthly fees.
Overview of Old School News Sources
Despite declining popularity, some loyal fans stick to old school news options. Here is an overview of these classic formats:
For generations, print newspapers were the predominant news source. Readers enjoy leisurely paging through local, national, and international coverage. Major newspapers include:
- The New York Times
- The Washington Post
- The Wall Street Journal
- USA Today
- Los Angeles Times
Newspapers have different sections like front page, politics, business, lifestyle, arts, sports, and classifieds. Large Sunday editions have expanded content with lengthy features, commentary, and magazines.
Magazines offer deeper dives into topics. Examples include:
- News magazines like Time, Newsweek
- Business and finance magazines e.g. Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek
- Lifestyle magazines such as Good Housekeeping, Real Simple
- Celebrity/entertainment magazines e.g. People, Entertainment Weekly
- Hobby/special interest magazines like Golf Digest, Cook’s Illustrated
Magazines provide extended reporting, analysis, profiles, and feature stories with glossy photography. Issues are printed weekly, monthly, or quarterly.
Radios steadily delivered news for most of the 20th century. Popular news radio formats include:
- National Public Radio (NPR) – in-depth reporting and talk radio shows
- All news radio stations – round the clock newscasts
- AM talk radio – commentary and call-in shows
- BBC World Service – global 24/7 news coverage
Listeners enjoy radio news during drive time commutes, at work, or home. Radio fills gaps between print and TV news cycles.
From the 1950s-1980s, families gathered nightly to watch 30 minute newscasts from:
- ABC (Peter Jennings)
- NBC (Tom Brokaw)
- CBS (Dan Rather)
Formats included local news, national, international, weather, and sports. Nightly news anchors were trusted, iconic figures. TV news took a hit as cable expanded options and the internet took off.
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In-depth weekly public affairs programs like 60 Minutes brought extended coverage and investigations. 20/20, Dateline, and similar shows still air on networks and cable channels.
Local TV News
Local TV newscasts air early morning, noon, 5-6:30PM, and late night in most markets. Local anchors present city news, weather, traffic, sports, and community events. The hometown focus attracts loyal viewers.
Pros and Cons of Old School News Sources
| News Source | Pros | Cons |
| Newspapers | In-depth reporting, leisurely reading pace, variety of sections/topics, relaxing break from screens | Declining readership, lack of customization or interactivity, limited scope, no immediacy, expensive subscriptions |
| Magazines | Specialized focus on topics, extended features and analysis, high-quality photography, glossy appeal | Limited scope, monthly or weekly cycles mean lack of immediacy, costly subscriptions |
| Radio News | Constant updates throughout the day, easy audio access in cars/workplaces, trusted broadcasters, call-in shows provide interactivity | Audio-only format limits details, no customization or visuals, irregular updates between news cycles |
| Network TV News | Familiar anchors, video format conveys immediacy, investigative pieces and interviews | Restricted to 30 minute evening newscasts, limited scope and airtime, declining ratings as audiences fragment |
| Local TV News | Focus on hometown news, weather, and community events, familiar anchors, video format | Limited to short newscast cycles, often sensationalizes and lacks depth, declining viewership, repetitive stories |
Tips for Catching Up on News the Old School Way
Though it requires more effort, there is a certain nostalgia to keeping up with current events through classic news formats. Here are tips:
- Have a routine: Set a regular morning time for reading the newspaper with coffee or schedule an evening TV news viewing habit.
- Compare sources: Don’t rely on just one. Mix newspapers, magazines, radio, and TV to get different perspectives.
- Go in-depth: Choose publications known for insightful reporting like The Economist or New Yorker for a deeper understanding versus superficial headlines.
- Find radio voices you like: Seek out radio commentators that provide thoughtful analysis to make your commute enlightening.
- Opt for analysis: Sunday morning news shows and weekly magazines do more reasoned exploration of issues versus quick sound bites.
- Savor the ritual: Enjoy relaxing with print editions and make watching favorite anchors part of your evening wind-down.
- Take breaks from tech: Use old school news as a way to give your brain a break from constant digital stimulation.
- Reminisce: Let old school news evoke nostalgia for simpler times and cherished memories. Share memories with younger generations.
- Acknowledge limitations: Accept that old school news has limits in scope, immediacy, and lack of interactivity versus online options. Use it to supplement.
The Future of Old School News
While digital news dominates today, old school sources retain niche appeal. Print, radio, and broadcast TV still attract loyal, if shrinking, audiences. These legacy formats invoke nostalgia and provide depth absent from endless online content. Rather than a main source, old school news serves as a complement to fast-paced digital coverage. Going forward, these pillars of 20th century journalism will likely persist as beloved artifacts anchoring people in cherished routines even as news consumption changes. For those who occasionally put down their phones, old school newscasts, newspapers piled on the porch, and radio voices remain familiar comforts.
In today’s nonstop digital news cycle, taking time to catch up on current events the old-fashioned way through print, radio, and television can be grounding. While old school news lacks immediacy and customization, it offers other benefits. These traditional sources promote relaxation, concentration, nostalgia, and respite from 24/7 screens. Though no longer primary news sources, they still hold appeal for rituals and deeper perspective. Old school news formats remain beloved institutions, connecting us to bygone eras, cherished memories, and simpler times.