THERE'S a conspiracy going around that social media will eventually wipe out newspapers as a main source of news, but it’s the same line of thinking when a journalist in 1835 announced that books and theater would soon be replaced by the daily newspaper and become “the greatest organ of social life.” Can we truly foresee the future of newspapers in today’s day and age?
There comes a need to face the fact that the production of newspapers and even its readership is quickly dwindling. The articles published tomorrow might have been already covered in last night’s news sites. The internet could have even brought you a video with all the moving images and sounds, more appealing to the youth. It’s simply overstated that print media is dead, just like how they say that radio is dead.
It’s the society as a whole who can get to decide whether print has already had its day and whether or not it’s time to retire as the main source of news. Taking a look at how a society is made up, different types of people co-exist - the old and the young, the rich and the poor.
Even with their different preferences, the common denominator will always be that they need a source of news – newspapers being a part of it. This means that different sources will always need to exist since there are still subscribers and patrons.
The ideal citizen should be able to read different sources of information. This means that it’s not the main objective of different mediums to actively compete with each other and be the “main source” since they cater to different types of audiences.
The youth will read news from the internet and the elderly and middle aged will prefer print. Breaking news will be aired on television and the radio while in-depth analysis will appear on the newspaper and magazines.
Social media and online news sites, for example, aren’t “replacing” traditional news outlets. On a different perspective, the existing news cycle is continuously becoming more and more diverse.
This was far from becoming possible more than a decade ago when people relied solely on radio or on print. “Replacing” is not really a threat that’s happening. This plethora of options highlights the strengths of each medium. An average person may find out that a celebrity died on Twitter but this isn’t going to stop them from reading an obituary on the newspaper or a magazine.
If the problem is that news publications are receiving less profit, we need to question if this is necessarily true. First, news companies also own their internet counterparts. This means that the news articles seen on internet can be continued and given a greater in-depth reporting when published in the newspaper.
Secondly, the existence of these newspapers online, will even advertise their own paper meaning that people will still be aware of these print versions’ existence. Furthermore, advertisements are still the lifeblood of these publications and they will still provide profit when all else fail.
This plethora of options may bring out the paradox of choice wherein people no longer know what to subscribe to, or place more value on. But ultimately, these mediums can help each other to achieve their goal of informing the people – this is of greater value.
Our current news landscape is indeed seeing shifts; it offers information at varying platforms. The readers have no problem adjusting to this. They’ll turn to the TV for weather updates, check Facebook for entertainment in between, and to the newspapers for an in-depth story.
Newspapers are still surviving and there’s no threat of them dying. (Maria Isabel A. Elizaga)
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on July 02, 2017.
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