Do you read the newspaper?
What about a day old newspaper? Two days old?
Or do you check the Internet for the latest news?

Where does the value come from in news media?  Is it the lessons we can learn from reading the stories?  Entertainment value?  Neither of these is dependent on how out of date the news we’re reading is.  Yet somehow it’s only entertaining if it’s recent, preferably brand new.

I get why some news has to be breaking stories.  Information is crucial to making good business decisions.  Deciding whether to head out sailing for the day needs the latest assessment of weather conditions.  For Joe Schmoe reading the MX on his way home from work though, what’s the point?  It could all be completely fictional for what he cares, right?

Somehow there is a point though.  Nobody bothers to read a day-old newspaper lying on a train seat.  The stories just aren’t that interesting.  Either people are subconsciously preparing themselves for inane discussion about current affairs with acquaintances, or there is some inherent value in news being fresh.  But if freshness is its only appeal, is it really worth reading?  If you’re not going to read today’s news tomorrow, why bother reading (or watching) it today?

Of course all this discounts the appeal of a two year old Woman’s Day sitting in a dentist’s waiting room, or the entertainment factor of reading interesting articles at any time.

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