The Longevity of Newspapers

By Chloe Skaar on April 17, 2017

Newspapers are not ready to fade into history.

Newspapers are a timeless resource that enrich our culture and nourish it with information and insight.

The age of technology has thrown the industry into an incontrovertible recession, yes. Those who favor the internet’s information load, however, often overlook that competition is fruitless. Online resources and the classic ink-and-paper method thrive from coercion and supplement.

The newspaper industry initiated its contribution to society in 1704. The first continuously-published paper, the Boston News-Letter, started an effect that is not diminishing any time soon: teaching us to be a well-rounded and well-read society.

Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel speculate in their book The Elements of Journalism that “the primary purpose of journalism is to provide citizens with the information they need to be free and self-governing.”

The two could not be more correct.

Our marriage to technology has stifled this concept with a roadblock: How can citizens make important and educated decisions under the constant bombardment of 24-hour notifications and the confusion between headlines and click bait? This is where supplement becomes crucial.

Newspapers need more readers; online publications need more clarity. Combining the accountability of print news with the immediacy and accessibility of the internet has become a conversion tactic that no journalist can hope to be successful without possessing.

Turning, again, to Kovach and Rosenstiel’s book offers insight to this crucial, modern skill.

“The purpose of journalism is not defined by technology,” they wrote. “Or by journalists or the techniques they employ. As we will show, the principles and purpose of journalism are defined by something more basic — the function news plays in the lives of people.”

My university’s newspaper, The Standard, attended a conference of the Missouri College Media Association this weekend, where the editor of The Spokesman-Review, Rob Curley, engaged hundreds of students as the keynote speaker.

Curley centered his humorous and inspiring presentation around the idea of integrating local newspapers and internet technology. He detailed his newsroom’s strategy for keeping their readers engaged in a printed product.

Unsurprisingly, Curley told the audience the most efficient tool is technology. He showed us The Spokesman-Review’s beautiful website design, packed with interactive intrigues that draw on reader’s curiosity and visual stimulation.

These alluring aspects of internet design and immediacy coupled with the authoritative and informative nature of printed newspapers define the function of news in the lives of citizens and their decision making.

Citizens need accountable news and newspapers aren’t prepared to fail meeting these demands.

Newspapers aren’t ready to die.

Third year journalism student at Missouri State University. Focused on print and internet and reading every book I can get my hands on. Reporter and political beat reporter for The Standard.

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