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The Return of the Newspaper

Donald Trump's victory in the 2016 US presidential election did not usher in a new era of social media, or spell the demise of the traditional press. In the past year, newspapers staged a remarkable recovery by doing what they do best: reporting thoroughly and accurately on the most important stories of the day.

BANGKOK – Social media are no longer the new kid on the block, but in 2016, platforms like Twitter and Facebook looked poised to nudge traditional newspapers into obsolescence. Following President Donald Trump’s victory in the United States, it seemed that the mainstream media had not only lost the plot, but had also lost their relevance.

Trump led the multi-pronged attack on traditional news media, and newspapers in particular. But many members of the press were also quick to declare that their own character limit had been reached. Accused of being elitist and out of sync with readers, newspapers’ reactions ranged from self-flagellation to repentance for the election result. Flummoxed by the clobbering from all sides, pundits who could not get the Trump election right prophesied that declining sales, falling readership, and flagging credibility heralded the demise of the newspaper, as we have known it.

But more than one year later, it is clear that Trump’s victory did not mean any such thing. On the contrary, his ascendancy has made the newspaper business more relevant than ever. The most remarkable media story of 2017 may have been how Trump inadvertently made newspapers great again.

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