Print Publications Conforming to Online Media Takeover

Print Publications Conforming to Online Media Takeover

The landscape of the media has evolved, resulting in the rapid decline of print publications.

By Sean Barows, Courtney DiFonzo and Meghan Mangrum

Nov. 25, 2010

TAMPA, FLA. – Due to the evolution of the Internet and related technologies, print publications, such as newspapers and magazines, are in fear of becoming obsolete. The media has made its move to the online world and print publications are trying to find a way from becoming extinct, such as conforming to the new medium.

Not only has the internet impacted the way people receive information, it has also influenced a change in journalistic style. News stories are no longer written in lengthy features or filler-articles; they are now shorter and more compact so audiences can skim through them quickly.

An extreme version of this medium is known as twitter journalism, where a news update can be sent straight to your cell phone in 140-characters or less. Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have also impacted the media greatly by allowing users to send information to each other with a simple click of their mouse.

According to Tom Price’s article, Future of Journalism, “In 2008 alone, publicly traded newspaper stock prices fell 83 percent.” People no longer want to go out of their way to purchase a newspaper when the source of their news is just a click away on the Internet.

Some may consider this as history repeating itself, with the death of the PM newspapers only a few decades back. Now it appears the morning paper will be following in its footprints. Newspapers have conformed to the evolution of journalism by employing official websites for their news articles and updates, yet the fear of print publications becoming obsolete is still apparent and a staff of more tech-savvy employees is now necessary.

Jeff Houck, a food writer at the Tampa Tribune, has been working in the industry for over 20 years and has observed the changes that are affecting newspapers. He advises print publications to remember: “Google is nothing without content. If newspapers can be innovative and create new ways of delivering that content then, yeah, we’ll be ok.”

“We have [the] content. We are content providers,” Houck reaffirmed.

Magazines may have a little less to worry about. While they are also branching out to the Internet with their own websites, even their own iPhone applications and Twitter accounts, a printed copy of a magazine seems to be more appreciated than a printed newspaper.

Lauren Douglass, the editor-in-chief of Campus Talk magazine, was asked if she felt magazines would become obsolete due to the popularity of web publications. “Personally, I don’t think so,” she responded. “I mean, I hope not, because I think it’s nice having a printed magazine [and] not just a digital file.”

It is still unknown whether or not the online world will be the death of newspapers or to the industry as a whole. Yet it is undeniable that these new platforms will assuredly continue to change.

“When I finish a story it has an online component to it,” Houck said. One thing is certain: in a world influenced by social networking sites, videos, flash applications and hyperlinks, journalists will always remain the storytellers no matter what form it may take.

Interview with Lauren Douglass as she speaks about the magazine industry and her hopes for its future.

Interview with Jeff Houck as he speaks about the changes he has seen in the newspaper industry as well as his thoughts on how it will continue to survive.


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