Newspapers won’t disappear, at least not yet

I entered my freshman year at Maryland with the intent to declare a journalism major. I interned at newspaper during high school, and while it was a great experience, it didn’t leave enough of an impression to drive me to enter the field.

During the orientation before school started, I went with the potential journalism students, and we were all asked to introduce ourselves and our intended majors. Most of them wanted to be broadcast journalists, and I stood up and said I was considering both journalism and PR. Dead silence fell over the room. The professor told me that I better choose—the two are not compatible. (Because journalism students are taught that PR people suck but we’re a necessary evil. We actually love journalists. It’s a mutual relationship.)

And being in PR I’m familiar with more trade, national and local publications than most people are. And I recognize the names of the journalists who work at these outlets.

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Thinkmexican.tumblr.com

I eventually chose the PR major, because I wanted to have a job 20 years down the road, and I wanted to make more than 20K a year. Don’t get me wrong. Journalists are great, and I believe that honest and accurate reporting is truly a cornerstone of democracy. If you can make it out there, props. We really need you guys.

This post is a response to the post I reblogged below from @iamavig, which focuses on the non-utility of newspapers in today’s digital era. So go ahead and read it, then continue reading my post.

 

 

 

 

 

Oh come on. Seriously go read it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DO IT!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you read it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can only continue reading here if you read his post. That’s the rules.

 

 

 

I’m not really sure what the post is trying to say, exactly, but he does say that most people don’t read newspapers. That’s true. I can’t remember the last time I picked up a hard copy newspaper. Here are a few things I think they are useful for:

  • Shabbat reading, like he says,
  • Sitting in Starbucks and chilling, and
  • Local news.

My family gets the Gazette, which is a local newspaper distributed to the residents of our county. Much of the content doesn’t really get posted online, because it’s hyper local.

Also, I’m sitting in Starbucks as I write this, and there is a guy the table over reading some print publication. I see this a lot in Starbucks, so print isn’t defunct just yet.

I think what he’s really trying to get at in the post (and I could be wrong) is the future of newspapers. No one can deny the trend toward digital news, and the closing of newspapers all around the country every year only emphasize this trend.

My prediction is that newspapers will still be around for a while, because older people like hard copies. My grandmother moved to New Jersey from Portland about five years ago and she loves reading the New York Times every day.

But as millennials age and replace these people, I think hard copy papers will increasingly become a relic of the past. I did some research for my journalism classes last year on the effects of youth being raised with digital devices, and have come to a couple conclusions:

  • Their attention spans shorten, and the brain’s circuits for close reading literally disintegrate, making reading texts more difficult. (This may apply to digital texts too; it’s unclear.)
  • Screen time is addicting, because it forms synapses in the brain that need those connections in the future. Put simply, no screen time = withdrawal.

Once these kids become contributors to society, they will be conditioned so that reading print texts will be really difficult for them. This could spell doom for the print industry, but we could also see a counter cultural dystopic backlash toward digital. With the pace things happen today, it really is anyone’s guess.

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newspaperdeathwatch.com

It’s hard to say whether newspapers will totally disappear, but we all know the industry is shrinking with the trend toward digital. This study, whether credible or not, notes that in North America and Europe, print viewership dropped 5.3 percent in 2013 and 10.3 percent over the last five years. TV news viewership has radically decreased in recent years, and is, interestingly, mostly watched by older people now.

I think this was a heavier response than he probably bargained for, but hey. Something to think about. I welcome all comments.

 

 

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