The Death of Print Media and How it affects College Students

Unless you live under a rock, I’m sure you have heard about the death of print media.  Many people, not just journalists, are concerned about how they will obtain the news in the future if hard copies fail.

As Journalism majors, we hear about this all the time; from our professors, our families, our friends, our classmates, and random people we meet in subways and at bus stops.  Is it in the distance or is it part of the near future?  Should it be a major concern of college students in the present?  How does it affect your choice of majors when entering college and thinking about a future career?

I understand that print media is declining in sales due to all the new technology created and consumed in our present-day world.  However, we’re also told as Journalism students that the public will always have a need to know what is going on in the world.  We know that news will always have a market.  Don’t we also know that print media will always have a market as well, even if it’s a smaller market?  There are people who don’t understand the new technology and prefer not to adapt to new things.  Even when the elders of this generation are gone, and the next generation has arrived, we (the students) will be the new elders and there will be a new technology that we don’t understand.  We will be like this generation.  Half of us will try to adapt and stay updated.  The other half of us will prefer the old ways (by then the old ways will probably be Twitter and Facebook) and think the new technology is too complicated.

Please feel free to agree or argue and explain your reasoning.  I like to hear new points of view I’ve never heard before, and to debate them back and forth.

Photo Credited to jasonbentley’s photo stream on Flickr

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7 responses to “The Death of Print Media and How it affects College Students

  1. I really don’t see print publications leaving the market in any of our lifetimes. Thirty years from now, people may no longer favor having to walk to the end of their driveway to retrieve the newspaper (by then that will be way too much work), and I don’t doubt the newspaper industry making some 360 innovation. But I definitely don’t see it dying out. Neither do I see the magazine industry declining so far to the point that it becomes “dead.” Just because online publications are increasing doesn’t mean that print publications are decreasing. I feel like that’s the misconception. Seeing stories in print, on a glossy page, is more meaningful than seeing it on a screen–that goes for writers and readers. Taking that away would be so wrong. If anything, the journalism field is as competitive as ever. The way we report is definitely changing and evolving into faster, more online-efficient and breaking-news-supporting manners, but that has nothing to do with the industry dying. My opinion, of course.

  2. Yes, print media is suffering as more people read the news online. However, people are still consuming news, just in a different format. Our role as journalists won’t become obsolete until a reporting robot with thinking capabilities is invented.

    I may be out of step with the rest of my generation, but I still like using newspapers and magazines as my primary source of information. As a magazines major, I really hope that magazines will continue to be printed well into the future.

    As Jennifer says, technology is changing so fast that the technology we’ve mastered is slowly drifting into an obsolete abyss with eight tracks and typewriters.

    We expect to update our cellphones, iPods and computers as soon as the new model comes out. Nothing is built to last anymore as it is intended to be disposable.

  3. Jennifer Heartley

    I’ve often discussed that with people, not just about technology, but also about everything else. Children’s toys, for example, are getting to be flimsy and each year using thinner plastic. Your idea that nothing is built to last anymore is accurate to just about everything.

    I notice the children’s toys because I have small children in my family that I buy for, and I walk down the aisle looking for something as sturdy as what I had as a kid.

    I wonder if our elders thought the same about us. What we now consider antiques were probably longer lasting than what we had.

    Does the same apply to ideas and theories? For instance, do you think journalism was more ethical before than it is now? Do you think as time passes that it will become less ethical?

    (Open for discussion with anyone.)

  4. Jennifer, while I agree with your point that our generation will eventually face technology we don’t initially understand, I believe our generation is more receptive to technological change than our grandparents’ generation. In turn, as our generation ages, I believe we will welcome technological change and adapt quickly, per usual.

    Already, our generation has traded landlines for cell phones, CD players for iPods, laptops for tablets, and maps for GPS devices. I believe these early technological adaptations foreshadow the ease with which our generation will adapt to new technologies as we age.

  5. I think print media suffered because the world changed, and it was slow to change with it. Change is hard on intuitions. I believe print media and online media will continue to merge. Look at the redesign of USA Today. Gannett designed the entire news experience to be the same from different types of interfaces. It’s different, and it will be interesting to see what type of effect this will have on other publications.

    There will always be a place for journalists because people simply need to know what is happening. The journalists’ role changes as the needs of society change. Right now, there is no shortage of information. The key is getting paid for writing about it.

    As Emily pointed out, I don’t think traditional print will completely go away any time soon. For our anniversary, my wife got us a subscription to the Sunday New York Times, which includes access to the iPad version as well. As much as I enjoy the iPad version, it was fantastic to delve into this mound of paper, exploring the physical depth of information. I have to admit I love the tactile sensation of reading actual books. The binding and paper has a rich, earthy smell that you can’t get from digital source. It’s just more than receiving information.

  6. Personally, I am afraid of what the future will hold for print media. Don’t get me wrong, the new technological advances in media are amazing and worth paying attention to. Our society will keep looking and waiting for the next best thing. I agree with Taylor, our generation is definitely more connected and educated with the new forms of technology, but there is something about me that will always be nostalgic. I prefer reading an actual book, like Jeff, and have never expressed interest in buying a Kindle or iPad. They are definitely fascinating products, but I don’t see myself running to the store anytime soon to buy them. I think that there will be people who will always want the new thing, but there will be people like me who will hold on to the older versions of things. Therefore, I think and hope that print media won’t die anytime soon.

  7. I think one reason print media suffered is because the income decreased as people read their news online for free. It will be interesting so see how the new online subscription services some newspapers like the Des Moines Register now have play out. Even though budgets and staff at newspapers have been cut severely, I remember reading not too long ago (don’t recall the source)that most of the news online is originally aggregated from reporters who write for newspapers.
    I think you made a good point about changing technology and the willingness to adapt with age. I think some people are more resistant to change than others, no matter what their age, and others are more willing to try new things, though some people are more reluctant to change as they grow older.
    Speaking of technology, we tend to think of technology in terms of the digital, however, I had an educational technology class where we learned to define technology as a tool that helps you achieve a goal. In that sense, many things that we normally don’t think of as technology were at one point in time technological advances – even tools like pens and pencils. For teaching, we learned the key was to use the technology in a way to improve learning – and not just use technology for technology’s sake. It will be interesting to see what the new technology is in the future.

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