Getting the news in India

I spent much of December and a bit of January in India on a family trip with my wife, a native of India, and our 9-year-old son. We stayed with relatives in Mumbai, Hubli and Banglore, and on our own at a hotel in Goa.

What struck me through trip is how newspapers appear to be alive and well in India. Each family we stayed with subscribed to at least one paper (The Times of India) as well as a regional one (such as the Deccan Herald).

And people read them, although perhaps as much for the celebrity news as anything else. Sections were hefty compared with those of American newspapers. Classified advertising filled page after page.

In addition, hawkers plied the streets and train stations of Mumbai, selling an afternoon tabloid. And the day’s papers were available for free at the gate at the airport in Bangalore.

Now I am back in the United States and already hearing about more buyouts and layoffs this week at my former newspaper, The News & Observer. Hawkers and afternoon papers are but a memory. Classified advertising is vanishing, and news hole is shrinking.

Maybe it’s time for a return trip.

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