Today’s Star columnist: James Stirr

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It’s easy to see why people think newspapers are slowly dying off. The internet has made information so much more accessible, but journalists and publishers are faced with a huge dilemma – selling their brands to successive generations who have grown up with the internet.

Generally speaking, although I’m sure there are exceptions, young people don’t read newspapers. I don’t think there’s a specific reason for it. There might be an age when you suddenly start taking an interest in the news – but that doesn’t mean reading a newspaper.

I admit that I’ve probably spent as much on newspapers in my life as a certain American high street coffee company pays in tax, and that’s from someone who wants to be a journalist, so what is it that stops me buying them?

Well, when you’re a child, you don’t really need to know the fiscal situation in Europe, or net migration to the UK isn’t hot gossip on the playgrounds of Britain. So what about when you’re older? I think it’s all about routine. If your parents buy a paper, it becomes part of the family’s routine.

There are people who glance at the front page, before going straight to the sport pages to see how their team did. Others buy them on certain days for pull-out sections, and we all know someone who buys them for the puzzle page.

A survey last year found that just over three quarters of all newspapers sold are to people aged over 50. Now some might say that papers are doomed to die out with the older generation, but what’s to stop younger people buying newspapers when they’re older? It’s fair to say that you’ve got more free time if you’re retired.

The recent decrease in sales seems to be steadily levelling, but they dropped when radio and TV were introduced, so it’s nothing new. While it’s very likely that the industry will change radically in the near future, I think there’s room for newspapers to work with the internet for the moment, so let’s make the most of them while they’re still around. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go and buy a newspaper.