Paper’s not popular, but news always will be

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Print media is dying. It is no surprise that more and more people check their phones for news updates on current issues every morning rather than walking down their driveway to pick up the newspaper. As we move further into the 21st century, technology is becoming increasingly prevalent in our everyday lives, so much so that there is hardly use for print items anymore.

I find the decline of print media to be unsurprising in this technological age, yet still saddening. There is something nostalgic about reading a physical paper hot off the press. For generations, people have waited expectantly by their doors for the delivery of printed papers. To think that this is slowly ending is not only sad, but is also a farewell to tradition. I do, however, see hope for the future of journalism and media, it just doesn’t include print.

I still have hope that journalism has a bright and strong future; it’s just being manifested differently to adapt to the new era.”

— Contributing Editor Irit Skulnik

Due to the declining readership of print, newspapers all over the country are ending the publication of their print editions. Weekday print circulation has fallen from 60 million in 1944 to 35 million in combined print and digital circulation in 2018. This is happening even in student journalism, notably with the University of Maryland student newspaper, The Diamondback, recently canceling production of their print edition.

The larger implication of the death of print media shows how technology is constantly changing the future. With print disappearing, the use of smartphones and other devices is growing. With smartphone addiction at a high, people frankly don’t want to read a print paper anymore, not when they can Google something in seconds. However, this can also play a large role in the future of journalism, thus maintaining an audience past the death of print media.

Just because print editions are coming to an end, it does not necessarily mean the whole industry is. I still have hope that journalism has a bright and strong future; it’s just being manifested differently to adapt to the new era. Blogs, podcasts and websites are all various ways to report on news that are successful in this era of technology. Podcasts alone have gained 14 million weekly listeners from the previous year, according to the New York Times.

There is a way to tie together journalism with the increasing use of technology, giving journalism hope for the future. The industry needs to evolve with the times, just like every industry, and learn to cater to the average smartphone user.

This story was featured in the Volume 37, Issue 4 print edition of The Lion’s Tale, published on January 16, 2020.