When people find out that I am an aspiring journalist, the question they often ask me is: "What do you think about the future of newspapers?"
Quite honestly, my answer varies depending on the situation. Sometimes I say that I can't really answer the question because I'm not a journalist (yet), so I don't have the "insider scoop" on what's happening. Other times I say that I think the future of communications is moving online. This answer is almost expected of me, not as an aspiring journalist but as the technology-loving Millennial that people think I am because of my age.
People expect me to be fearful for the future of print. After all, in some people's minds I wouldn't be able to pursue a career in journalism if it all moves online. However, strangely enough, I am actually comforted by the fact that online journalism is becoming the norm. Not only am I a blogger who has always been able to find a home for my writing online, but furthermore I am a teenager who has grown up watching technology become more and more prevalent in society.
Since I began writing for blogs, I have become aware of how many people you can reach with online writing. Be it on blogs, social media, or writing websites, written content has the potential to go viral and reach millions of people. Contrast this to a newspaper's circulation base and you have a convincing argument for online journalism.
This being said, though, many newspapers have adapted by featuring articles on their website and social media. These are strategies they can use in a world where people seem more likely to check their phone in the morning before they read the newspaper.
In her successful blog post titled The job I've spent the last year learning is not the one I'll have, author Jenny Surane states, "Print is dying. It's an expensive product to love. And general managers, publishers, and editors must now figure out a profitable way to get their news into readers' heads."
If print is dying, then a new form of communicating information is being born. The need for information has not died. If anything, it has increased. What has died, rather, is the way in which information is conveyed. Jenny goes on to state that Millennials "don't feel like picking up a newspaper," and would "rather scroll through their Twitter feed and get the day's news from many different sources."
Identify several major news events from recent months, and I can almost guarantee that I found out about them through Twitter. For the most part, if the news interested me, I didn't just read articles from one newspaper or one source; I sought out all of the perspectives involved to get the
Now more than ever, in an age of information, there is a desire for stories on the same topic from different points of view. There are a thousand stories about the earthquakes in Nepal; they can be told in an interview with a survivor, a personal essay from someone who lost their business, home, or family, a report from a bird's eye view of the scenario, or an opinion piece about increasing natural disasters in the world.
The print industry can adapt to meet the need of providing a variety of sources, if it chooses to. Print may be dying, but there are life rafts all around -- newspapers need to reach out and grab onto one, or risk drowning in the wave of the Internet.
Is the future of print grim? Maybe. But is the future of journalism, of communicating information to people, grim as well? Not by a long shot.
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