Print Journalism isn’t dead, it’s more alive now than ever before

I was reading an article by Mashable’s Editor in Chief Lance Ulanoff, about how social media has supposedly ruined the current youth’s ability to write. While I agree with Ulanoff’s stance that rather than dead, it’s simply evolved, that’s not the point. One of the best phrases, in my opinion, in the article was by one of the professors Ulanoff consulted for the piece, Ethna Dempsey Lay, a Hofstra University Professor of Writing Studies and Composition. She posed the question,  “Isn’t it curious that phones, which were designed for sound, are now used for text?”

Huh. That’s kind of a peculiar thought. It seems fairly contradictory to the idea that print journalism as a whole has died since the dawning of digital communication and a 24 hour news cycle. And while I think most people would agree local newspapers like the Springfield Journal Register might have trouble sustaining itself, the New York Times won’t die. Period. It’s in a solid economic standing, and although it notes a decline in circulation, it’s online revenue is helping to solve that deficit.
So back to Lay and her thoughts about mobile reading. Think about how many tweets or Facebook posts you read a day. How many links do you click on? Your entire activity on social media can’t be spent playing Farmville or tweeting with friends about last night’s sitcom. Some of your daily usage is probably around viewing news, while that changes from person to person, it still exists in a predominant majority of all users of social media. The audience is there, but the problem is: the news outlets aren’t captivating you.
One thing has died about print journalism. The actual newspaper is basically gone. People aren’t willing to sit and read an entire newspaper while trying to flip through the pages when there’s a phone or tablet in their palm that requires the swipe of a thumb. What needs to change about the print journalism industry to save it from a flatline is the major renovation about how it delivers news to the world.
Tablets and other touch screen devices are going to be an essential part of our daily lives, while they’ll evolve and adapt, they’re still going to be here for a while. Newspapers should concentrate a majority of their efforts into delivering news onto these mediums. The Daily, even though it failed for financial problems, was brilliant in the way it delivered its content. It offered the interactive services through twitter and comment boxes, but still carried breaking news stories just like a website. The subscription based service through the iPad Newsstand, The Daily was the dinosaur of how we’ll view news in the next 5 years. Its metaphorical comet was the business model it based itself on. It required way to much overhead, almost $500,000 a week to operate, not including Apple Inc. taking their cut or their advertising budget.
The way I look at it though, for some to succeed some must fail. Murdoch’s News Corp. will not end with The Daily, at least they shouldn’t. It is the future of how print journalism will be delivered. Imagine holding a copy of the New York Times and it refreshes to show you a full story of something happening in the Middle East or across the country. Would you pay for that? I sure as hell would.

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About joemartin2014

J-student at Arizona State University, and pursing a minor in business as well.

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