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Death of the newspaper: what is killing it?

Posted by: | December 7, 2011 | No Comment |

Newspapers are dying, but the news lives on. Not only does the news live, but it thrives.

How? Newspapers have been the most mainstream news outlet for decades. If it is dying, how are people staying informed? What happened?

There are many factors that have contributed to newspaper’s demise. A lot of it has to do with the invention and popularity of the internet. Just as the invention of the printing press was influential in the distribution of the newspaper, the internet is a vehicle for news to travel. It has proved to be a much faster, more immediate way to reach consumers.

This happens to technology all the time. It’s not long before a new and improved something comes along to replace a gadget that used to be cutting edge.

According to L. Gordon Crovitz of The Wall Street Journal, this isn’t the first and only time something like this has happened. A lot of media tools have evolved from other forms of communication. The development of the early telegraph is a prime example. The biggest fact about it is that we don’t use the telegraph today. The telephone come along and replaced it. Crovitz did mention that nothing has seen a disruption (like the one to newspapers) happen at this rate.

Samuel Morse's telegraph (Source: Wikipedia)

However, there is much to say to the fact that newspapers have lasted through some of the inventions that have been introduced during its reign. Newspapers were widely accepted before televisions were mainstream. The television newscast came along and has threatened the newspaper as its top competition. They seemed to form some sort of a partnership as of late. They work hand in hand and feed off each other.

Like with the printing press, the right equipment is required to participate and contribute to the news. When the printing press was new, they were hard to come by. They weren’t available to everyone. You had to be rich to have one, but if you did, you were the gatekeeper for anything that press printed. Now, anybody with a computer and internet connection can add to the information that is out there.

People have always felt the need to know what is going on around them and how it will impact their lives. With the internet and all of its tools, it is surprisingly easy. The emergence of the “Twitterverse” and “Blogosphere” have allowed news consumers to not only have that immediacy, but share and react with each other in a way that newspapers hinder.

So to answer the question I posed in the beginning of this post, I think time is killing newspapers. Time contributed to it’s invention and it was only a matter of time before something (and in this case somethings) has come to replace it. It is not possible to point a finger at any ONE electronic media outlet. It’s the combination of every new way to get the news faster.

Another way to look at this time answer is to call newspapers slow. Classic newspapers are the slowest outlet to produce the news. With Blogs and Twitter, there is no deadline. The news is ever-changing. And if there IS a deadline, blogs can be updated and a new Tweet can be written. Print is print. Ink cannot be erased.


(Photo courtesy of www.esquire.com)

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