The future of newpapers

Thursday, September 18, 2008

By Austin Bates

A lot of debate rages constantly about whether newspapers have any place in the future. Some think they do, but in more limited form. Others think they may have little to no future at all. I have to believe they will survive.

Without a doubt, newspapers will change how they work, how they're distributed, how they're read, how they're formatted, and how popular they might be. But I do not believe that those neatly bundled collections of folded together recycled paper will go the way of the dinosaur. News outlets that own print newspapers will have some serious changes to make, but doing away with newspapers altogether may be too extreme, and end up alienating a lot of readers.

I am the kind of person that will ALWAYS enjoy the feel of a paper book in their hands much more than sitting stiffly in a mildly uncomfortable chair while I strain my eyes into a too bright monitor and have to wade through a miasma of links, information tags, and scroll bars in order to read the same thing. Besides, it's not like you can take a computer, even a laptop, everywhere you could a book. Same goes with newspapers; I think they're easier and more enjoyable to read.

I'll admit, I read most of my daily news online, mostly from MSN. However, I get my news from there when I'm in a hurry or doing something else and something just catches my eye. When I'm trying to relax, and have time to do so, though, I enjoy opening a newspaper and casually scanning through the pages for interesting pieces of information.

Now, of course, many of newspapers's most faithful readers will be older generations, especially those that have yet to figure out how a computer mouse works, and, objectively, it is wise to worry less about them than the future generation, where your money will be coming from. But losing print newspapers altogether could still end up costing newspapers a good chunk of change and might not even solve all their problems anyway.

I believe that in the future, the print newspaper will become more of an elective novelty type item, more like a novel, than a needed source of news. More likely, newspapers will become weeklies only, serving to wrap up, in detail, the major stories and events of the week on Sunday, the source of most revenue for print papers. For daily news, readers will know to turn to the Internet, and this will most likely be automated through small fee subscriptions that automatically send the daily issue of the newspaper to your inbox every morning.

Newsprint has a long way to go before it ever really dies, and I do not believe that day is anytime soon.


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