Posted by Lauren Horsch
Drake University is one of those places where I see more people reading a tangible newspaper than an online edition. Newspapers are strewn about tables in the buildings around campus.
Yet, a large amount of the media my peers and I consume come from sources on the Internet. There isn’t an hour in the day when one of the many newspapers I follow on Twitter updates with a new headline or with breaking news.
The news cycle of the 1950s and 60s is no more. Now, the media comes at readers on an almost minute-by-minute basis, which can be frightening and exhilarating. Every time I go to check my Twitter feed a new story is posted. Every time I go to the Des Moines Register Online, there is a new headline on the home page.
According to a Pew Research study released Sept. 12, 2010, more people in the United States are consuming media online than ever before.
While this doesn’t surprise me, it’s still worth mentioning that according to the same study, local newspapers are doing just fine.
In fact, Tom Rosenstiel, the director of the Pew Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism said in an interview with National Public Radio this was mainly due to advertisement revenue.
“…Little advertisers, the mom-and-pop shops around town, they don’t have websites…” said Rosenstiel during the interview.
After spending the past three summers working at a local newspaper, I understand the need for local media. While it has a Twitter page and a website, its target audience is still reading the print edition.
So, while local newspapers are just fine, other large daily papers are cutting staff writers almost monthly. In October 2009, the New York Times announced that it would cut 100 staff writers. This is a scary notion for me to deal with since I will soon be entering the realm of print journalism. My big question is: Will there be room in the newsroom for me?
Not to worry though, newspapers are still being read.
According to the Pew study, 26 percent of Americans said they had read a newspaper in the past day. Yet, that statistic falls to eight percent once the age group reaches the under-30 crowd.
So, why aren’t students taking advantage of campus readership program? Are newspapers avoiding the under-30 audience? More importantly, how can newspapers cater to the under-30 crowd?
Is it because the newspapers are too bulky or leave ink on one’s hands? Is it because we’re too busy to stoop down and grab one from the rack?
Maybe I’m just a purist and prefer my news on paper, but that doesn’t mean I don’t thrive on media outlets on the Internet (for the sake of transparency, I do use online media outlets).
Is the culture of preferring interactive, online media going to continue, or is it going to eventually plummet and return to the days of the 1950s? At the moment, my personal belief is that it unfortunately will not change, but our consumption of media will become more concise, and instead of turning to three different media outlets for news, we will focus on one place (whether it be Twitter, Facebook or a website) to find out what is happening in the world.