Nowadays Internet became a very important part of people’s lives. Gathering news is not the only thing you can do online, today’s Internet-services include selling technical devices, clothes and even food, earning and controlling the money, communicating with people all over the world, and many other important things. In modern society you can even find new acquaintances and make friends on the Internet! According to Jonathan Dube [Dube, J. (2010 July, 28). New report: Internet is more important than newspapers, but still not trustworthy. Cyberjournalist.net.], 82% of American population is using the Internet in their daily life. Some people even in AUBG are becoming complete Internet-maniacs; they are sitting in front of their computers all day long. Lots of movies are made on this topic, from “Social Network” ( the film about the creation of one of the most popular online social network – Facebook.) to, “I, Robot” (this movie is telling us a story about robots which by 2050would have become common human assistants.) . New technologies have a great effect on all spheres of people’s life, and the Internet influences all kinds of media. However, newspapers are affected more than magazines, books and other printed issues, because the main purpose of a newspaper is to inform the people about worldwide and local events. If half of century ago newspapers were the only and most convenient source of gathering news, with invasion of the Internet it becomes easier to receive tidings online. I believe that if newspapers don’t disappear in the future, they will probably change their format and reduce the number of printed copies.
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The formats of media are changing not for the first time. According to George Rodman (2009), first newspapers appeared about 1200 years ago. In 1690 the first American newspaper was published in Boston. Later, with the adventure of radio and television, newspapers’ production gradually started to decline, because it became more efficient and prompt to get breaking news via these new kinds of media. However, TV still didn’t have a chance to compete with papers, because papers were providing deeper information. Much bigger stress newspapers felt during 1990s after the appearance of the Internet.
“About 67 million Americans now read blogs, and 21 million write blogs, creating an explosion of new writers and new forms of customer feedback that did not exist five years ago (pew, 2008). Social networking sites like MySpace or Facebook attact over 70 and 30 million visitors a month, respectively, and businesses are starting to use social networking tools to connect their employees, and managers worldwide”, – says (Laudon K.C., Laudon J. P. (2010). It seems that recently the whole world is turning online.
Nowadays a lot of popular public editions are reducing the number of printed material. The Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News have cut their home delivery to three days a week and advised readers to find the rest of the news online. (Lieberman, D. 2010, August 11).
According the article “Will your newspaper be around in five years” by Jeremy Porter (2009, June 22) there are 4 main aspects which still keep newspapers alive: content, readers, advertisers and format. At the same time the author disproves all these features and argues that newspapers won’t be still published in 5 years.
First of all, newspapers don’t differ a lot one from another. You can find the same information in the Internet, because most of periodicals, including very popular editions, such as The Wall Street Journal, New York Times or Washington Post, are not only printed, but also published online. Moreover, you can read the overwhelming majority of information online for free, that makes the Internet even more attractive.
A reader is the most important concern for a newspaper. Newspapers will have no success without readers. However, more and more people agree that “It is “nice to have” (printed editions), but they can live without (them)”. Lots of people are becoming Internet-users, and most of Internet users read news online. For example, I myself get new information about events that happen in the world and particularly in me home country by reading short messages on Twitter. As far as I know students in our university don’t read newspapers at all, despite rare cases, when we need to find a particular piece of information only in a particular newspaper and nowhere else.
One can argue that older generations should be accustomed to the papers and do not want to change anything, but statistics proves the opposite. According to the survey made by Pew Internet and American Life Project the number of Internet users in age group 70-75 increased from 26% to 45% within 4 years. This fact sounds strange, but 4% of Internet users are 73+ years old.
Where do newspapers get their revenue? The most logical answer is “advertisers”. But will advertisers sponsor printed newspapers if they are not that successful? Nowadays, large newspapers in big cities are more in danger than local editions are. It is rather expensive to put your ad in a newspaper, especially when you have a lot of other opportunities: radio, magazines, websites and billboards. Advertisers don’t have such a large range of possibilities in a small town, that is why they have to put their promotion to the newspapers in order to reach the audience. This gives local newspapers better chances to survive. (Lieberman, D. 2010, August 11).
Newspapers’ revenue can be made also by online advertisements. It is even more comfortable for both sides, because it is easier to track, how many clicks were made on this link, than to find out how many people actually read a newspaper and paid any attention to advertisements.
The last argument is newspapers are not environmentally friendly. It takes tones of wood material, lots of electricity and many delivery tracks to produce and transport the papers. At the same time the Internet is rather ecologically safe, so producing printed periodicals doesn’t make any sense from the environmental point of view. Of course, the Internet requires a lot of technical products, such as computers, notebooks, iPads, and others, but producing of these electronic devices will grow despite turning newspapers’ production online.
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There is an opinion that good online papers will make you pay for the information, because it takes a lot of efforts and quite a lot of money to get news, create an article according to them and make this article readable. Moreover, some information is really worth paying. Also many generations were paying for news during the “papers’ era”, and why do reporters and journalists have to provide the same information for free? However, it might be too late to charge for online content. People have already got used to receiving news for free, and it is rather hard to turn the current situation vice versa. (Porter, J. 2009, June 29).
The first reason why some people assume that newspapers will stay alive for a long time is rather low Internet availability in developing countries, and in some of them the situation is not going to be changed in coming decades. According to ‘Internet usage statistics” (Internet World Stats) in Middle East, Africa and Oceania/Australia the availability of the Internet is very low, comparing to Asia, Europe and North America. This is the first reason why some people assume that newspapers will stay alive for a long time.
Also in local areas printed issues seem to be more convenient. Let’s imagine that there is an online resource Blagoevgradonline.bg, which covers latest news of this town. If this site has a success, audience will ask to make this resource printed, because it will be more comfortable for the overwhelming majority of town’s population. Another example is our university’s newspaper – DeFacto. It was started in 2003 with the website, but the printed version was neglected only in 2007. This shows that the process is reversible; it is not only about turning papers to the web.
Phelps Hawkins, Assistant Professor of JMC (Journalism and Mass Communications) Department in AUBG, suppose that humankind will need newspapers anyway, because sometimes we are becoming tired of the Internet. For example, when one is going to the restaurant or goes on a plane, places where it is not convenient or even forbidden to turn notebooks on, waiters or stewards are suggesting some papers to read in order to become familiar with latest news. This kind of service is not going to be changed a lot, that’s why newspapers have to exist at least in small amounts.
According to Google executive Santiago de la Mora (2010, January 28), Internet will not displace newspapers just as “VHS, and later DVD, didn’t kill cinema”. In his opinion, newspapers have to provide us something that will make people want to read them; and it should be something more than just printing the material. De la Mora is sure that Internet companies don’t want to “steal” newspapers’ revenue, because first of all, it is publishers’ material that goes online. “Using Google’s webmaster tools, publishers can prevent Google from indexing their sites entirely, or they can prevent specific Google services, like Google News, from indexing their content”.
Yesterday I was talking to my Mom about my research paper, and asked her opinion on the topic. She was hardly urging me that newspapers would not die, because reading a newspaper is sort of ritual, but at the end of our conversation she added: “However, newspapers are terribly inconvenient. They are big and smell like a paint”.
Almost nobody now is listening to music on tape recorders, and very small amount of people is watching movies on VHS. The world is changing very fast; humankind invents newer and newer devices and technologies. However, some people are still listening to music on vinyl. Maybe someday newspapers will become something that reminds people of the past, and collectors will search for old New York Times’ editions.
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