They still exist, the good things. Or rather, the good news. “Digital reach of newspapers is increasing by leaps and bounds” reports the German Association of Newspaper Publishers as an interim result of the Corona crisis. I gladly agree with the conclusion of the association: Corona “increases the need for trustworthy information”. Indeed. Many media are living up to their systemically important role in this situation: they report extraordinarily comprehensively, reliably, with verified information – even though the editorial offices have to cope with unfamiliar working conditions and the publishing houses are suffering from reduced advertising revenues.

Facts instead of feelings

Wait, why “systemically relevant”? Communication is systemically relevant in a time of crisis because it is the only way to create trust in institutions. Where trust is lacking, we quickly end up in a situation where the power of emotions triumphs over facts – and masses of toilet paper are bought, which in some households should last until 2030. And for goods other than toilet paper – such as medicines – the consequences could be dramatic.

Newspapers in particular, many of which are still struggling economically with the digital change, are in some cases putting together very cheap packages for exclusive online content in the Corona period (e.g. F.A.Z. Germany for 1 euro/week or the Italian “La Repubblica” for 1 euro/month) or are offering their Corona coverage completely free of charge (New York Times or Economist). Some are postponing the launch of their new digital payment model in order to continue offering all information free of charge despite drastically reduced income from advertising (El País from Spain).

More acceptance for digital paid newspaper services?

This shows that many media take their social responsibility very seriously. Of course, it’s also a good way of convincing new target groups of the benefits of your own digital offering and retaining them permanently. But if one result of the Corona crisis were that we media consumers appreciate well-researched information more and that digital paid services finally work well for newspapers as well, we could perhaps use the Spanish proverb: “No hay mal que por bien no venga” – for example: “There is no evil that does not lead to good.

Author

Alexander Schneider

Alexander Schneider

Editor internal communications

Mainly working as an editor for internal communications at TÜV Rheinland. He is always looking for exciting stories and topics that are interesting to tell. There are plenty of them in the company. He studied history and has a soft spot for Latin America. Always wanted to do something with media and therefore worked for a well-known publishing house in Frankfurt’s Gallusviertel for a long time. He likes living in Cologne, because the city is the proof: autosuggestion works. Nowhere else can such local patriotism be found despite such pronounced building sins. And it’s simply fun – just like cycling to work. He even attracts attention as a native of Cologne during visits to Berlin, because he simply talks to the people.

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