Sunday, August 18, 2013

Where Have the Newspapers Gone?

Where Have All the Newspapers Gone?
Do you find yourself reading the news more and more online? That is because print media is possibly on its way out the door. More and more newspaper companies and magazines are going online. Mubashir Hassan states, “Daily newspapers in the US have lost 40% of their readership in the last 20 years. In 1991, 70% of people would watch TV for news, but now a 50% drop has been witnessed in their viewership.” (2013) Why such the decrease? Because the younger generation is going to social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Vine to get their daily news. However, there is still the older generation that still prefers to hold their news information in their bare hands. They want to turn the pages and get the ink on their fingers. They probably think it is silly to read the news on something that they see as nothing more than a video game. The average age for newspaper readers in the US was 54. (Hassan, 2013) That means there is a huge gap in the population that read print newspapers as opposed to those that do not read print media. Some say it is because young teens and young adults do not want to carry around a newspaper or have it laying around in their homes. Others say that it is easier for them to check the news on their phones or tablets. One study suggests, “Millennials are more likely to own smartphones and to use them for news, and far less likely to use print newspapers, radio or TV for news.” (Sonderman, 2012) The Millennials and Generation X have grown up playing with computers, smartphones, and tablets unlike the older generation. They are more likely to embrace social media sites compared to the older generation. So what is going to happen to print media? Traditional media will have to reinvent themselves to appeal to the new trend of online social networking sites. They will need to have Facebook and Twitter pages for the younger generation, but also stay true to their older, loyal readers. If the newspaper companies can appeal to both the younger more technology advanced user and still be able to print some newspapers for the older generation, the companies should be able to survive. However, Bill Mitchell states the following about newspaper jobs lost, “In its look at established media, the study found 5, 900 newspaper jobs lost in 2009 (in addition to a similar number in 2008), reducing newsroom employment at newspapers since 2001 by a third.” (2010) That means more and more people in the journalism and communication field are having a hard time keeping their jobs. This is why there is such a huge debate on whether or not print media is dying out. However, there is no denying that print media is declining and will continue to decline while consumers become a custom to using the internet and adjusting to social media sites like Facebook. Print media does not have to completely die out as some would say. Print media just needs to adjust to publishing their news stories online so they are still appealing to all types of personalities in people. There is no doubt that we are a nation of change; however, you will always have the laggards that will grit their teeth and stand their ground when it comes to not using technology. J Ford Huffman, an independent news-media consultant, suggests, “You can read the news on your iPad, but you can't quite snuggle up with your iPad like you can a good magazine. And you can't replace your iPad, in the same ways you can replace a lost newspaper.” (Social Driver, 2012) Huffman has a point. Newspaper prices range from $1.50 -$2.00 a paper, and iPads range from $400 to $1, 100. That is quite a big difference in prices. For example, if you were an iPad user and you lost your iPad, it is a lot more difficult to replace a $400-$1000 iPad in comparison to replacing a $2.00 newspaper. However, it is easier for some users to bookmark their favorite stories with their digital devices instead of relying on a print copy, because the hard copy could be destroyed or misplaced. The bookmark feature on computers or tablets allow users to save and revisit their favorite news sites. Also, digital media such as tablets and computers allow the consumers to make the font size bigger for better visualization. Also, digital platforms allows users to watch videos online and you are able to see the news as it unfolds. Not to mention, people who use online news sources can share the stories faster by copying and pasting the stories to their social media websites or linking the stories to their website. Also, they can e-mail the stories to family and friends. More and more people are going online to stay connected with others; therefore, they have the information at their finger tips at all times if they have a smartphone or tablet. They do not have to leave the comfort of their own homes or work stations to buy a newspaper at the local market. The downside to the digital aspect of newspapers is that it is limited in article material. For example, if a parent has a child that is on the honor roll, this article may be omitted in the digital platform. This is a huge disadvantage to the parents that wish to collect those articles for keepsake or scrap-booking. Another aspect of digital media is the immediate availability of information. As soon as news worthy events happen, they are almost immediately made available to the public. This can be a double-edged sword. It allows news media to get the edge on their competitors, being the first to post; however, this rapid turn around of information does not allow for in depth investigation of what is being reported. Whether or not you prefer print media or new emerging media, there is no denying that media is forever changing to the new world of digital technology.

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