By: Grace Oshin
Will technological convergence be the death of the printed word? With the digitization of print evolving by the second, it seems that print newspapers are rapidly losing value. According to an updated report by the Pew Research Center for Journalism and Media, “weekday circulation experienced a decline not seen since the immediate aftermath of the Great Recession…print circulation declined by 9%, while digital circulation increased by 2%.” In the last decade, journalism has entered a stage in which multiple news organizations have either shut down completely, or shifted entirely to the web. The New York Times reported that news companies like the Rocky Mountain News closed, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, owned by Hearst, shifted entirely online. So, what does the future hold for newspapers in the digital age?
The newspaper industry was, in many ways, hit first and hardest by the advent of the digital age. Although newspaper companies have transitioned online along with magazines, one question remains: Do people prefer paper or a screen? Students like Taylor McNamara, a senior psychology major, enjoys reading print. “I hear our own school paper is considering going online due to cutting costs,” said McNamara. “Just because our generation is immersed in electronics, doesn’t mean we don’t like to read physical copies.”
She continued, “I pick up The Pioneer in-between classes because it’s handy and readily available. As a busy college student, having to go online to learn campus news would be an extra step that I don’t have time to take.”
However, some students find it beneficial to access print news online. “I would choose the online version over print because the online version is easier to navigate, faster and more environmentally friendly,” said Carly Franqui, a junior criminal justice major. Though, Franqui acknowledges problems with reading news online. “Reading online is not easy on the eyes, and I don’t fully pay attention to the stories.” She added, “on a rare occasion when I do pick up a print copy, I take the time to flip through every page of the paper. I feel more accurately informed.”
The question is: If print newspapers were to vanish in the future, will people be as accurately informed digitally? Franqui offered an answer, “there is no way digital news will ever be as captivating as reading print.” She continued, “I doubt print will ever disappear for that reason.”
Everything is being digitized, and our generation is right in the middle of it all. How will it continue to affect us? News reading is a dynamic phenomenon that affects readers differently, so depending on your point of view, digitized print is either the savior or destroyer of a tradition.