Newspapers: Becoming Old News As The Internet Advances

Kaitlyn Huscher, Staff Writer

In a survey taken by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, about 61 percent of Americans get at least some of their news online, and 92 percent of the respondents said that they get their news from more than one electronic platform.  As for newspapers, only 17 percent of people still get their news from some printed source.

“Newspapers are old news,” says the Pew Research Centre, and “the internet is taking over.”  Researchers from this Centre have found that people would rather find out the latest news via their phone or computer rather than a newspaper or radio.  Pew states that many news stories that circulated last year and this year, like the announcement of the royal wedding and Whitney Houston’s death, were first announced via online sources.  The State of the News Media Report says that due to how digital America has become, online sources can be a great pathway to news.

For example, the rise of popular social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are an ideal way for internet users to obtain their news.  When breaking news strikes, internet users can conveniently access the information with a simple click of a button anytime and anywhere.  Finding out news via the internet on a phone or computer is much faster and easier than flipping through a newspaper.  This way of finding out news is especially popular with teenagers, states Pew, whose survey found that 65 percent of teens use the internet or social media sites in order to obtain their news.  “When a big news story breaks everyone wants to discuss it with their friends,” Pew states, “and Facebook and Twitter is where everyone hangs out nowadays.”  For young adults, sharing news stories and pictures on the internet can be a fun way to interact with friends, and a convenient way to get news.

Due to the ever-growing popularity of these social media sites, the printing industry has been hit hard, and newspaper sales have plummeted by 30 percent.  The Pew Research Centre states that “if local newspapers no longer existed, it would not have a major impact on [peoples’] ability to keep up with information and news…”  So, with the extreme rise of technology, one has to ask, will printed news eventually be replaced by these internet sources?

Some would argue yes, and that eventually printed news will stop production as more and more people turn to the internet for their news, and these people would have good reason to think so.  With social media news, stories break faster and spread like wildfire, reaching everyone in a short time.  Cell phones and portable computers can go anywhere, giving internet users the advantage of capturing their own news and reporting it through the internet.

On the other hand, some would argue that the internet is not as dominating over news as it seems.  According to Tony Rogers, a journalism professor with over 25 years of experience, “Online sites cannot provide the same coverage as newspapers.”  Rogers says that most internet sites don’t have enough money to hire professional reporters, and less staff writers means less coverage of news stories.  “[These internet sites] cannot hope to compete with the kind of full-bodied news coverage provided by…the Tribune and the Sun-Times.”  However, Rogers does admit that if these multiplying online sites can find a way to afford sufficient writers and editors, internet news may have a chance against printed news.

Whether newspapers are indeed “old news,” or not, only time will tell if the printed press will eventually be replaced by the ever-growing internet sources we have today.