Save the Nations’ Newspapers – OP-ED

April 9, 2009

Like everything else in this economy, the newspaper industry is on the brink of demise. The reasons according to the publishers are the competition from various sources ranging from the Information Superhighway to electronic gizmos producing data with the touch of a button.

The survival of the newspaper industry is paramount in a democracy. It is appropriate to pledge unequivocal support to print press as someone having grown up knowing the world events and current affairs through newspapers. Personally, the newspaper was a window to the outside world and enabled a better understanding of issues unfolding at home and elsewhere. The newspapers offer knowledge, awareness and critical thinking on different topics.

One might argue why subscribe to a newspaper when the same information is accessible on-line free of charge? Although, it is a valid argument, it still does not match the convenience of a newspaper in hand while traveling or commuting to work on public transport and reading in a relaxed manner at home without Google search and browsing Yahoo/AOL articles. Further, the conventional source relieves common stress caused by prolonged use of computers. It is a healthy diversion in a manner books remain popular over audio and video versions.

Some national as well as local newspapers’ editorials, columns and articles are praiseworthy on many issues concerning life. The investigative and independent journalists deserve special recognition for their contribution to humanity due to risks involved in the exposure of subjects that may or may not be challenged in legal terms and otherwise. Similarly, there are reporters providing vital information from war zones and remote corners of the world by endangering their lives. These veteran newsmakers cannot be isolated in this context.

However, it is essential to bring certain issues to the publishers’ attention that could rescue the dying industry. The lack of objectivity in few columns and news articles is one of them. In an era of idolization of political figures, some journalists traveling with public entities tend to edge over the professional ethics and present conflicting content of the same article from other mass media such as television particularly cable news network, international channels and the potent internet. Unfortunately, the authors of such articles fail to recognize the fact that any information from them is verifiable through other sources for authenticity and to an extent affect their credibility if proven false. When they represent a reputable news organization, the conspicuous flaw reveals the devil in the detail magnified on comparison with live images on-line and television. The general public prefer facts not fiction in a newspaper article related to public figures , government affairs and corporate activities.

Another factor behind the decline of the newspaper industry is the ideology driven concept not barring political affiliations and the pandering to the authorities in government and business rather than a neutral position in the presentation of facts to confirm fair and balanced reporting. The educated and technologically savvy mass justifiably turned off by the extreme views and polarization in the newspaper industry. If the internet sources blamed as the major threat to the print press, perhaps it is time for newspaper publishers to exercise the freedom of press and responsible journalism like their on-line competitors and dedicate service to people more than any others in a democracy.

Whenever the press and television newsmedia regardless of the status as mainstream or not assumes the role of personal talking points to the authorities in power, democracy is in jeopardy forcing majority population to seek alternative sources for reliable information. It defeats the purpose of free press in a democracy that prioritizes politics over people, when the primary focus should be accuracy, transparency and accountabilty in public matter.

As stated earlier in numerous blogposts on this website industries and government ultimately depend on the main street, as they are the consumers and voters with real power in a functioning democracy.

On that note, a sincere request to all citizens across the nation to salvage the local and favorite newspaper through subscription since the survival of newspaper industry means restoration of voice in a democracy.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant

Glimpse of “Hope and Promise” in the Horizon!

June 25, 2008

Tech earnings diverge as U.S. economy weakens
• Reuters
• , Friday July 18 2008
By Jim Finkle

BOSTON, July 18 (Reuters) – IBM and other technology companies whose products help big corporations save money or expand data storage capacity are faring better than those relying on consumers as the U.S. economy slows.

International Business Machines Corp, the world’s biggest technology company, impressed investors by easily beating quarterly profit expectations and raising 2008 forecasts when it reported along with other big tech companies on Thursday.

In contrast, Microsoft Corp missed estimates amid concern about its online business and the economy, while Google Inc also disappointed. The Web leader told investors it was operating under “uncertain economic conditions” after a weaker-than-expected 35 percent quarterly profit increase.
Darren Bagwell, director of equity research at Thrivent Asset Management, which manages $73 billion, reckons IBM’s results point to strong performances for companies like EMC Corp, the world’s biggest maker of corporate storage gear. EMC releases its results on July 23.
“IBM’s mainframe business was on fire,” he said, pointing to a new line of computers that IBM introduced in February. They sold out at the end of the second quarter after the company’s first major upgrade to its mainframes in almost three years. They are used in “green” data centers that help businesses save money on energy and maintenance costs.
In a teleconference with analysts and reporters on Thursday, IBM said demand from companies in developed countries looking to expand data centers contributed to its better-than-expected 22 percent rise in quarterly profit.
Bagwell noted both Microsoft and Google said they plan to invest heavily to develop larger, more sophisticated data centers so they can better compete with each other.
“They are spending a lot of money to build out the infrastructure they need,” he said. “Someone is going to get the benefit of that, obviously.”
Bagwell expects such infrastructure investment will also bolster profits at VMware Inc, whose software helps companies save money by allowing them to boost the efficiency of server computers.
Companies the size of IBM could fare better in a weakening economy than smaller rivals, analysts said, as customers pare back the number of vendors to focus on those deemed most resilient to an economic slowdown.
Demand for hardware appears to be trickling down to smaller manufacturers such as Sun Microsystems Inc, whose shares have been battered, losing 48 percent this year.
Sun, a maker of high-end servers, reported on Tuesday preliminary results in line with expectations, but that sparked a rally in its shares by investors who had feared much worse.
Jerry Dodson, a portfolio manager with Parnassus Investments, which manages $1.5 billion, said he fears other software makers may post weak earnings after Microsoft’s disappointing results.
“It (the rough economy) seems to be hitting software more than the hardware,” Dodson said.
SAP AG and Oracle Corp, the two biggest makers of business management software, look vulnerable, he said. Germany-based SAP is scheduled to report on July 29, while its California-based rival released results for its most-recent quarter last month, issuing a cautious earnings outlook and saying it expected software sales growth to slow.
Microsoft’s online division posted an eighth consecutive quarter of decline, reporting an operating loss of $488 million. Industry analysts feel that bodes poorly for Microsoft’s rival and acquisition target, Yahoo Inc, which reports results on Tuesday.
“Their weakness in the online division is an indicator in display advertising, which has follow-through implications for someone like Yahoo,” Bagwell said. (Editing by Braden Reddall)

Analysis: It appears from the above report that overall software industry and Web based innovators are experiencing the teething pain of a slowing economy worldwide. However, other technology giants like IBM, EMC and emerging companies such as VMware Inc. could benefit from the major corporations strategy to streamline costs and modify their existing system infrastructure.