Thursday, March 26, 2009

the rise and fall of the print newspaper industry

I thought I'd tackle another media industry that has definitely shown signs of weakness. It's easy to pinpoint what has caused the downfall of the print journalism industry. It's also sad to see so many jobs get laid off, and so many columnists not being able to find work (with the exception of some of the NYT people lol). Just recently, Seattle became the first major US city to drop its official newspaper. Of course, the bad economy played no small part. Even the Internet couldn't save the struggling paper.

I've been wanting to write this blog for the longest time, ever since I was going to school at SIUE when I made friends with print journalism majors and Alestle people. What really got me doing this was the other day at work, when I saw that the St. Louis Post Dispatch slim down everything. There's a paper delivery guy who comes through my drive thru every night and gets coffee and sometimes he gives me a newspaper. When he handed me the slim thing (it wasn't even an inch long I believe), I began thinking about some of the people who work in this industry whose careers may be in danger. What's looking like replacing the Post Dispatch soon is (I regularly check it sometimes)

Newspapers have been around even before our country's Constitution was written. That of course, was during the Industrial Age. Now, this is the Information Age, and as a result, people are reading everything online. So, now will be the part where I start talking about what possibly went wrong. As mentioned before, things have totally moved online. Maybe not as fast, but the printing business may find themselves halted.

Look at it this way: when was the last time you seen someone under 40 reading a newspaper? I work at Steak 'n Shake very early in the morning and most of the time our customers our senior citizens that have nothing better to do than sit, read the newspaper and drink coffee. The same goes for Hardees and the Bread Company. So many people have utilized the Internet for everything. It doesn't matter if its blogs or any other kind of 'mainstream media' sites. I'll give you one example, and that's the Drudge Report. It's a site that gets more than 20 million views a day, and gives links to all the major news sites as well as independent media sites. The Drudge Report claims that it was the first 'all-free' news source on the web. Of course, it has its criticisms, that its too conservative-leaning. I check it regularly all the time. In fact, my dad has it as the start page.

And of course, there's bias. No matter where you look, there's media bias. The print media division has long been criticized for its leftist views. A hefty example of this is the New York Times and Chicago Sun-Times. The list goes on and on.

There's other factors too, that point the downfall of the print media industry. But the way I see it though, is that more local newspapers will continue to circulate. After all, everyone needs to know what's going on in their town. For example, I live in Glen Carbon, IL and I read the Edwardsville Intelligencer every day. So even as it makes its transition online, it'll find a way to survive. Whaddya think?

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