Are print newspapers going to die?

    by Mark Glaser
    April 28, 2006

    It’s the question that’s been on the minds of every newspaper journalist in the past few years, and with each passing month, less people read newspapers in print, and more people read newspaper journalism online. Consultant Vin Crosbie recently predicted that the newspaper industry has five to ten years to undergo radical change or face the chopping block. “What radical changes can save the herd?” Crosbie asked. “Shorter stories? More graphics? Having each editor and reporters write a blog? Citizen journalism?”

    So I’ll put the question to you: Do you think print newspapers will survive, and for how long? What can save them, and how can their brand of journalism make the jump online in a profitable way?

    • I think with the onset of e-ink, which can be seen in two different readers that are going to be released within the next 6-12 months, all news will be going digital.

      We’re already seeing the shift towards online-only news. For example, one of the most well respected business news outlets in Nashville, the Nashville Post, decided to go 100% digital.

      Paper is out. It’s only a matter of time (hopefully a few years) until most people are getting their news via their computers and e-readers.

    • Ahh, the death-knell talk for newspapers … I remember hearing it when I began my communications studies at Syracuse University in 1994. Twelve years later, newspapers are still here, and I just don’t believe they will be going away anytime soon. What I do believe will happen — and has already started to happen — is that newspapers must continually reinvent themselves. Because, after all, for those of us who consume news online, today’s newspaper is often yesterday’s news. Although more readers go to newspapers’ websites and other sites for the latest news, a print paper, I think, can still thrive with deep investigative reports, feature stories, breathtaking photography, etc. There will remain a role for print journalistm to play in our lives but that role will be an ever-changing one.

      I don’t think I’m atypical in writing the following: as much as I consume news online, there’s still something entirely compelling about flipping through the print version of my local newspaper — the Boston Globe in my case — particularly on Sundays. No computer screen can quite match the experience of spreading the Sunday newspaper all over the table or couch, and consuming it section by section. I don’t even mind the smelly ink stains on my hands, either :)

      But it’s also true that the onus is on the Globe to continue to put out content in its print editions that includes something new for me to read. We’ll see, but I just can’t imagine the print newspaper will die while I am alive.

    • Ben

      There are far too many local, small town papers that would not successfully survive a transition to 100% online. Most national and international news that I need can be read online, but I must purchase a subscription to my local paper in order to get local news.

      Despite the growth of broadband internet access, there are still several hundreds of commmunities around the nation that rely on dial-up internet acccess. Gathering news is something that should be quick and immediate, and the last time I checked opening up the paper is a lot faster for most folks than dialing up and searching through all the pages of thei local papers’ site.

    • Rick Violette

      It’s like television being the death of radio, or the cellphone being the death of home phones. Sure there will be a definate shift in the medium, but each medium has its benefits and serves different purposes.

    • Bob Martinson

      I’m a freelance photojournalist. I see very clearly that papers are run by editors who rise to the top. They spent their time in school and beyond, putting stock into the story, but not realizing that a good photo makes the reader pick it up, and/or even pull the eyes over to their story. I notice by asking people if they noticed different shots of mine that were published. I hope print doesn’t die, but if it does, too much print without graphics will be the reason.

    • Like everything else that has been predicted to die out and hasn’t eg radio, Unix, the 8-track, paper in the office, VHS, etc. print newspapers won’t die out either.

    • Krishna

      If 3feet x 4feet light/solar powered foldable ePaper with full colour depth cost lessthan $5 and durable for a year then present Newspapers will die and multiple Newspaper companies will born to deliver news to peoples ePaper.

    • newspapers will be around for quite awhile…..at least through my lifetime….they serve the local commmunity and provide a valuable service: local news events and more….as well as support the local business by giving them a place to advertise.

    • cmd

      News Papers and all media is more a joke to the general public than the arrogant media managers are willing to see. Denial is a a thing that leads to death of all things.

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