Friday, February 9, 2018

Is Annahar making a rule out of an exception? #الكل_في_جريدة

On February 8, Annahar issued a special issue which aggregated the opinions of 200 personalities - artists, politicians, academics and even bloggers - with regards to their vision about Lebanon of the future, the whole issue was guest-edited by Riad Salame the governor of the Central Bank in Lebanon.
Apparently the issue was sold-out from newspaper vendors, and this is being heralded under the notion that no, print is not dead. Go tell that to Newsweek and Christian Science Monitor and the Annahar arch-rival in Lebanon Assafir all of which folded their print edition. Annhar has a "premium" service for 60 USD a year which allows people to read the newspaper (a 50% discount was given for one day on the 8th from what I understood).
Mind you, this is not the first time I hear of the theory that "print is not dying" and that much like Radio was said to be dying when television came along, it turned out that it morphed into something else. Not only this, but printed books have taken their electronic counterparts according to the latest numbers.
"The newspaper which is not funded by the reader is funded by the unknown" so went the mid-90s ad for Annahar when there were rumors that the Late Prime Minister Rafic Hariri was said to want to take over the newspaper. And truth be told there was indeed a time when you could not start the day without reading Annahar. Even as AUB students Artisto from the agricultural library would pack us in groups so as to take the paper and read it in bits (art section is mine, Ossama gets the sports page, and Bachir the politics).
But much, much changed since then. Even if one still reads news or gets notified by them, it is usually via phone or internet. No one bothers to buy the printed matter. If someone is being sent a link one either checks it immediately on a smartphone or goes to a computer/tablet to see a better view of it.
Such is the nature of the beast today, and the earlier we accept it the better it is. I have spoken about the death of print before, and even said how this single-handedy run blog is now an Epica juror alongside established publications. "The times they are a 'changin" sang Bob Dylan, and this was even the selling line of the Nostalgia by Veidt in the seminal comic "Watchmen".
It is said "this is the exception that proves the rule" and the swansong of the Annahar special issue being sold-out only proves it rather than negates it.