Nine out of 10 times growing up, I would walk into my childhood bedroom to a pile of newspaper articles on my desk. As I flipped through them, there was no set topic, no niche interest that I was fanatically researching, instead, they were diverse stories that my dad had set aside for me during his daily reading of the newspaper because he thought they would interest me. I remember that act of love fondly and still excitedly await my dad’s email with obscure articles to enjoy.
The content may have moved online, but it is still the news. The industry may be facing a never-before-seen turn to the internet, but they are still vital in keeping the public informed. Newspapers are more than an aesthetic, more than a collection of articles folded in a complicated manner. They are a business. They are a group of editors and reporters figuring out what story to tell and when.
I am no stranger to complaints about the state of journalism, so when Reno Valentino wrote an article about the dying industry, I wasn’t surprised. In fact, when I told people I was studying journalism, the top response was people telling me that the printed newspaper was dying.
People need to stop saying that the news industry is dying when it is really just changing. When I am nervous about the state of journalism, I simply remind myself, there will always be news. No matter what form it takes, reporters will have things to report and stories to tell.
Valentino challenges the industry and asks if anyone is reading. Yes, they are. Young and old tune in every day to learn what is happening in the world around them. People read the stories in their preferred format, sure, but the job of a reporter is not to force people to pick up a printed copy but to write an engaging story for any platform.
Print and digital versions of the paper, each have their own purpose. Older readers may not know how to access a digital newspaper, but they can count on the printed version showing up at the door every day. Older readers and readers who do not have access to technology, for that matter, deserve to have access to the paper. Additionally, just like with books, some people simply prefer paper and that is okay. The printed paper still serves its purpose. Times may be changing, yes, but they aren’t changing that fast.
We live in a digital world now, and while it is a funny joke that the news industry is notoriously stubborn and slow to change when it comes to the internet, that just isn’t the case. Newsrooms have adapted and built an online presence. You can access pretty much any story online nowadays. They break important stories quickly over social media. Sure, they can do more, but that will come with time.
That also doesn’t mean, I am not scared of change or sad that this is where we are. I want everyone to recognize the beauty of a printed newspaper. To understand my excitement every time I get a new article from my dad. But readers catching up on the news on their phones during their commute to work will just have to be good enough.
Words previously appeared in Times Delphic on October 5th, 2023
Pictures created by Bing Image Creator