My Response to “Out of Print: The Death and Life of the American Newspaper”

September 13, 2009

          Times are changing in the world or reporting news and I have come to agree with those who predict that in the near future, the internet will completely eliminate the use of print journalism. While this is not a fact, statistics such as the ones included in Eric Alterman’s essay have shown that newspapers have become the least preferred source of news as of 2004 with market values dropping around forty-two percent within the last three years.  With the up to the minute, speed of light access to the news that the web provides, the use of the newspaper seems passé to many of us.

          I personally cannot say that I have an emotional attachment to the newspaper. However, after reading about the depressing demeanor that fills today’s newsroom, I have an understanding of the sadness that print journalism’s downfall has brought to those who have respectively made a career out of reporting and writing for newspapers. I believe that it takes a great deal of skill and discipline to work as a professional journalist and I have sympathy for those who at this time are facing the reality of possibly losing their jobs. Simultaneously, the change that is taking place within the news reporting medium is one that I am comfortable with. I think that my disconnection to print journalism can be explained through a statistic in Alterman’s essay that “Since 1990, a quarter of all American newspaper jobs have disappeared.” I was born that year and by the time I reached the fifth grade, the use of the internet was in full swing. I can clearly remember printing out articles from the web to complete my current event assignments and using the internet to research for an essay. My generation did not grow up with a dependence on the newspaper and as a result, I do not feel that a complete appreciation for the print medium can be expected.

          It is clear that America’s media landscape is in the process of completely crossing over to the digital world. I feel that there are advantages to justify this change as one that has had positive affects on my life.  I find that having the news available on the internet increases the amount of stories I read as every area of interest is covered with an infinite range of story topics. How often I read the news has also increased as the internet readily available to me on both my laptop and my cell phone. I feel that for the majority, the use of the internet for reporting has improved the quantity of news that is read by the public helping to create a more informed society.  The internet has also created the medium of citizen journalism with the invention of the blog and Twitter. This medium allows anyone the opportunity to discuss and respond to news stories and current events.  Although this has caused somewhat of a breach in the level of accuracy of information being shared, citizen journalism has had positive effects by creating a stronger connection between people. For example, the U.S military in Afghanistan has adopted the use of Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube as a way to communicate with the public building a stronger relationship between the government and its public.  I feel that making these connections as well as giving citizens the opportunity to have a voice has increased their general interest in the news.  Although I have not personally opened a Twitter account, I appreciate its uses and have often read web articles about the vital information it has been able to share. I would consider these changes in how we read and discuss the news to be evidence of development within our society.

          With the constant growth of reporting on the web, I think that the use of the American newspaper will decrease to insignificant levels. In upcoming years, I believe that electronic, news-feeding devices such as the Kindle will continue to rise in popularity, being sold with a more reasonable price tag until they are as common as the Apple iPod. I feel that this will be the replacement of the newspaper because it is just as portable while allowing access to news from the web. From an environmental standpoint, the exclusive use of these portable devices instead of the newspaper would significantly reduce the amount of trees being cut, paper being produced and paper being wasted.  The idea that the newspaper may soon become a historical piece of the past is something that I do care about. I respect the fact that the production of the newspaper has been ongoing for close to three-hundred years and that its efforts have helped to revolutionize our country. At the same time, I feel that the change in our media landscape of using the internet has already begun to make change for the better of our society and will continue to do so in the future.

          I personally get my news from the internet and television. I mostly read stories off of network websites such as CNN and MSNBC. Using the web to read news allows me to choose the topics I am most interested in and is a quick and easy way to stay informed. I enjoy watching shows such as The Daily Show and The Colbert Report because they are both informative and entertaining. I find that these programs take the confusion out of news stories and hold my attention longer than an average news report would.

         I think that because of the time I was born, I recieve my news differently than my parents. I have grown up with the use of the internet as a source of news where as my parents grew up with the use of print journalism. My father for example, who is not the most electronically adept, is one of the few who regularly uses the newspaper as his source of news. I cannot say that I am  invested in old media or the medium of print. I do not feel this can be expected from my generation as  advances in the use of the internet occured during our adolescense. I am much more interested in new media such as blogging and Twittering because it has proven to be a way to both inform and connect with people globally.

 

http://mashable.com/ This website contains channels and blogs discussing advances in social media. I found it to be especially helpful with it’s turtorials on using Twitter and Google as I am new to the use of the blog and RSS readers.

http://readwriteweb.com/ This site was useful and interesting in understanding the web trends of the media. I like that it has tabs at the top of the page showing the latest products being used in the media.

http://www.wkconline.org/index.php/seminar_showcase/politicsandtv_2005_story/technological_changes_make_core_journalistic_values_even_more_important/

This article discusses how advances in technology has changed the way that television news is delivered. I found this article to be interesting because I know about the effects that technology has had on print but not on the broadcasting medium.

http://www.journalism.co.uk/bestofblogs.php/ I thought that this website did an especially good job keeping up with technological advances. It provides informational blogs about new strategies that reporters are using to find information and write stories. I also liked that it has tabs for writing tips, forums and job opportunities.

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