I seldom read newspapers these days. Occasionally, snaking my way through Edinburgh's never-ending tramworks with its network of roadworks and diversions on my way to work, I may scan the pages of the free Metro paper on the bus. But that's usually only to read about yet another Hearts win in the Edinburgh derby.
The internet provides up to the minute news and social networks such as Twitter and Facebook can give you instant updates on important news stories. Newspapers are old hat which, in my view, is no bad thing given the 'quality' - and I use the term loosely - and standards of some of the downmarket tabloids.
Much was made last year of the demise of the News of the World. This was a publication that couldn't spell decency far less demonstrate it and it simply didn't care who it trampled on to provide its 'world wide exclusive' tittle-tattle on some D list 'celebrity'. The phone hacking scandal brought its closure but it was inevitable its owner Rupert Murdoch, the News International supremo, would resurrect it in some other guise. Lo and behold, the Sun on Sunday was launched just a few short weeks ago.
The Sun, a daily newspaper, has been at the forefront of tasteless journalism in this country for more than 40 years. However, it's a sign of the moral decline in this country that people still buy the rag in their droves. Now it has a Sunday edition, those who get their fix on such tat can have it seven days a week.
Private Eye magazine - a fortnightly publication that helps me maintain some form of sanity during these difficult times - has a story in its latest edition about two senior Sun reporters attempting to commit suicide in recent weeks - both had been arrested by police investigating illegal payments made by newspapers for stories. The Sun and its ilk have claimed it would be insensitive to publish details of the hacks involved (although Private Eye has named the pair) Insensitive is not normally a word one would associate with The Sun or the NoTW - one of the journalists who attempted to take his own life has written dozens of stories over the years about people who have attempted suicide with thoughtful headlines such as 'Canoe Cheat's Suicide Watch'; 'Jo Suspect on Suicide Watch in Tough Jail'; and 'Crossbow Killer Slashes His Neck'. Clearly, a sensitive approach towards the families and loved ones of those involved...
Unlike those at News International, I have no wish to trample over the feelings of the two journalists who contemplated taking their own life. But there's a lack of respect in this country and some of the blame for the moral decline I mentioned above must lie with the insensitive, tacky and downright shameful reporting of some of this country's tabloid newspapers. And their damn lies which seldom stops them from publishing a 'good story', as the relatives of the 96 people who lost their lives at the Hillsborough Disaster in 1989 will testify - The Sun is still detested by most people in Liverpool as a result.
Only when it relates to their own journalists, does the likes of The Sun display any kind of decency and respect. What a sad reflection on journalism - and life - in this country.