The challenge in one image: an elderly European newspaper reader juxtaposed with a younger online consumer at the Frankfort, Germany, airport. (Jock Lauterer photo)
The challenge in one image: an elderly European newspaper reader juxtaposed with a younger online consumer at the Frankfort, Germany, airport. (Jock Lauterer photo)

Newspapers are thriving.

Maybe the professional mourners need to get outside the beltway more often.

I surely saw community newspapers “growing like Topsy” — especially in China on my teaching/research junket earlier this summer.

A mother and daughter engrossed in the same newspaper story.
A mother and daughter engrossed in the same newspaper story.

And newspapers are still the dominant communication form in Europe — if observation in the Frankfort international airport is an early indicator. Racks and racks of multi-language newspapers are for sale (and in some cases free) and are snatched up by information-hungry Europeans.

I observed with pleasure folks gobbling up not one, but several papers, at a single sitting. The papers are well-printed, wide and visually sophisticated. It felt like being back in the ‘80s in the U.S. before the big metro dailies got into their own self-induced tailspin.

Now I’m here in Vilnius, Lithuania, serving as a “trailing spouse” to my wife as she attends and presents at an international conference on children with reading difficulties. It’s a good opportunity to observe media consumption in yet another culture.

Note: I don’t hear much radio. TV is rarely on in bars, and if it is — it’s tuned to sports, not the news. Oddly, I don’t see that much mobile — nor the omnipresent texting and screen-addiction of U.S. youth. I do see lots and lots of newspapers.  And people reading ‘em! Whodda thunk it. What do they know that we don’t know? Or are the Europeans hopelessly quaint and behind the times?

Proving yet again that teens are the same the world over: a selfie in Vilnius, Lithuania. (Jock Lauterer photo)
Proving yet again that teens are the same the world over: a selfie in Vilnius, Lithuania. (Jock Lauterer photo)
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