What glimpse of your life will you put in the census time capsule?

As census night approaches, Colette Sheridan asks what you will be putting in your 'time capsule'?
What glimpse of your life will you put in the census time capsule?

Colette will be writing about the joy of indulging in a cuppa and reading the newspapers in her census time capsule. Picture: Stock

IT’S kind of hard to project ahead to 100 years time, when those of us who fill out the voluntary ‘time capsule’ section in the census, will give future historians and members of the public an insight into how we lived in 2022.

But it’s a fun thing to do, a way of making a tiny mark on data which is confidential to members of the public until 2122.

What will you write about? Climate change and how we seem to be walking blindly into catastrophe? Or dating online, with more and more couples meeting in cyber space before actually seeing each other in real life?

Will people write about the happiness they found through dating apps? Or the loneliness of a life spent online, particularly in the time of Covid?

Yes, Covid will probably figure in many citizens’ time capsules. It seems to have changed our world forever.

Others may write about the devastation of Ukraine, a major stain on our so-called civilised world. This war has shaken us out of any complacency that we live in a time of relative peace (at least in the western world).

Despots like Putin are, unfortunately, always plotting in the background, waiting for the opportunity to make their obnoxious mark on history, with the killing of innocent citizens seen as collateral damage for their empire building.

On Sunday, when I take pen to paper, I’ll be writing about the weekend papers, and how they still dominate my Saturdays and Sundays. 

I’m talking hard copy newspapers, bought in my local shop, and consumed in the same way that my parents read them over the decades.

While I read a lot of newspapers/journals online and subscribe to a few of them, nothing beats newsprint accompanied by a pot of coffee and the luxury of having nothing more urgent to do than consume the feature stories, the interviews, the book reviews, film reviews, restaurant reviews, interior design articles, gardening columns and offerings from favourite columnists.

While you can get news on your phone in an instant, what the hard copy newspapers are great for is analysis of the topics du jour, giving the reader context and proffering explanations for events.

Sadly for some people in 2022, newspapers are obsolete, something they see piled up in grocery stores and promptly pass by, perhaps not even reading the headlines.

That’s certainly the case with young people, who are in thrall to their phones and social media where they consume what they think is news but often, is in fact ‘fake news’ or even just barely disguised advertising.

You’d despair of them with their baseless claims that they offer as facts.

A friend wanted his teenage daughter to engage in reading newspapers so he left a copy of the Guardian on the kitchen table to see if she’d take the bait. When she eventually picked it up, the only article that grabbed her was on a so-called influencer.

The teenager declared that “some stupid journalist” had over-estimated the influencer’s monetary worth! She knew what the influencer ‘earned’ because of course, she had read it on social media. She was on the side of the influencer whom she didn’t want tagged as a money-grubbing chancer.

You have to admire the teenager’s sense of certainty, but you’d wonder why her vision of the world is so narrow that in a big thick Saturday newspaper, complete with supplements, she gravitated towards a trifling story about an influencer. This gal is now studying law.

What is the future of newspapers? Many have already closed down and news websites are cropping up. But for as long as newspapers are printed (some commentators give this an optimistic 20 more years), I will buy them (generally at the weekend.) Apart from being my bread and butter, they have always been a part of my life.

The downside is how time-consuming they are. Shouldn’t I be out walking, I ask myself as I settle on the couch and begin my readathon?

My mother was great at cutting out articles from newspapers that she thought would be of interest to family members. These would be posted by snail mail and followed by gentle queries as to whether the pieces had been read.

Newspapers are threatened because of the fall- off in advertising, due to the digital age. But we still seek the truth.

The late American writer and political commentator, Walter Lippmann, wrote the following about the function of truth: “to bring to light the hidden facts, to set them into relation with each other and make a picture of reality on which men can act.”

Long live newspapers!

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