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The New York Times newspaper does not deserve the title national newspaper of record. The phrase, ‘Newspaper of record’ first appeared in 1927 when it sponsored an essay contest promoting its annual index. In the essay, participants were asked to elaborate on the title, the value of the New York Times index. Generally, what was just a promotion for an index grew and adhered to the skin of the newspaper? Inspiration is drawn from the title, but there exist very little truth in its literal meaning. The title is impossible to fulfil and has over time created a deadening effect on both The Times and USA Today newspapers. A reason for this is the selective reporting that has since been on the rise in modern times. Additionally, there is nothing to record except where information is from a raw original source material. U.S.A is a country with diverse cultures and with people from numerous ethnic backgrounds. Different communities such as the Orthodox Jewish or the African-American will have very little record to draw from the ‘Newspapers of record’.
The phrase assumes such a godlike role. Anyone who only relies on the New York Times or USA Times as a source of news adopts the attitudes and the interests of those who put them out every day. Such is the impact since they assume a national role and puts into the mind of readers the idea that they are the only newspapers. No newspaper should think or claim to have such big an ambition. Editor John Geddes of the New York Times stated that, ‘the term implies an omniscient chronicler of events, an arbiter that perfectly captures the significance and impact of a day in our lives.’ Over the times, The Times have had different phrases such as, paper of record, all the news that fit to print and even Gray Lady. The phrase ‘all the news shows how the paper defines news. It raises questions if all the news comments on the news or the paper that contains the news.
On August 7 1945, the heading of The New York Times read; FIRST ATOMIC BOMB DROPPED ON JAPAN; MISSILE IS EQUAL TO 20,000 TONS OF TNT; TRUMAN WARNS FOE OF A RAIN OF RUIN. The Times featured the atomic bomb of Hiroshima, Japan. However, it omitted how destructive the attack was and the impact on the people. A new paper that bears the phrase a national newspaper of record ought not to have missed such an important detail. Such an attack was very catastrophic and caused a lot of destruction, failure to insert the destructive effects defeats the purpose of writing about the whole event. In this case, the Times defined news as anything that can sell and not, anything informative to the American people.
USA Today should not be considered as a national newspaper of record. Ideologically and demographically diverse are the words that are used to define the editors and panels that have overtime worked on the paper. However, this does not in any way qualify it to be a newspaper of record. The phrase alone is an advertising strategy, and even though it is well respected that fact alone does not qualify it to be a newspaper of record. People have different personal and subjective perceptions on what a newspaper of record should contain. However, a newspaper of record is such a diverse role and a great responsibility that a mere newspaper can claim to fulfil. Therefore, the USA Today does not qualify to be a paper of record but obviously does qualify as a national newspaper.
Both the New York Times and the USA Today have a similarity in that they are both national newspapers. They cover diverse areas and regions and are accessed by many Americans although USA today covers a broader circulation area than the New York Times. The Times exist in print, online or both. Home subscribers get all digital access free and no unlimited access to digital media such as smartphones. USA Today exists in print and digital form, and it is often found free in hotels and airports and the online paper is also free. The Times newspaper goes with the phrase that it covers all news that fits to click while the USA Today takes a more moderate approach. In the USA Today it has specific sections in a particular given day, this sections are, sports, news and even money. On the other hand the New York Times covers all the sections in one particular print. USA Today modernized its paper to look more like a website and its website to look more like an iPad. All these with an aim of reinvigorating the brand, the Times have remained with the same old distinct look. Such a move increases it news coverage to the American readers.
I prefer the USA Today due to its easy availability both in digital form and in print form. It’s free offers also would also play a role in my preferring it over the Times news paper. Its look and feels are more appealing, and its news coverage is diverse and relevant. However, despite its numerous advantages it still does not qualify as a national newspaper of record.