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Newspapers – a thing of past?

June 13, 2012

Newspapers – a thing of past?

 Around 1440 a German inventor, Johannes Gutenberg, invented one of the mot important and influential inventions of the second  millennium the printing press; and it was from the advent of  this technology that the newspaper was born. Newspapers went from strength to strength and they became an important part of democracy.

In the  21st. Century, however, with the availability of other  forms of media such as TV and the  internet newspaper entered a state of significant and rapid decline in many  places across the world with  readership entering a seemingly never ending downward spiral. This has left many commentators to suggest that newspapers are a thing of the past; Phillip Meyer in The Vanishing Newspaper suggests that by the first quarter of 2043 the newspaper industry in  the US will be completely extinct. Others suggest, however, that this is over standing the decline of newspapers, it could be suggested that there will always be a demand for printed word despite the current decline, for example in the UK on the 26 th October 2010 the first daily newspaper to be launched for 24 years hit the shelves and as of April 2011 the “I” newspaper had a regular readership of over 160,000 suggesting that perhaps that some demand still exists.

In an interconnected global world whereby technology allows us to communicate across the globe within  seconds in a  variety of forms the newspaper medium becomes obsolete.  In the time it takes to write, edit, print and distribute a newspaper the events being covered  may very well have changed. When we have the  technology to overcome  this problem it seems unlikely that newspapers will continue to exist because who wants to read old news? Others might say that as  newspapers are a slow medium, they can produce better quality material than other news sources which strive for immediacy. Professional journalists and experts have time to consider the issues and write well structured coherent and highly informed pieces which other types of media cannot  compete with.

What is most  certainly true of newspapers today is that they are, in general, losing their readership, however, does this necessarily mean that there is no longer a place for them in the modern media landscape, are newspapers dead or are the rumours of their death greatly exaggerated?

-Navneet News House

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