It seems to be assumed, even common knowledge that the mass media industry has been experiencing rapid change and evolution. Even more widespread is the belief that traditional media, such as newspapers and magazines are dying out and becoming more and more irrelevant. While there has been downsizing and loss in the industry, this belief is not necessarily true. Though the industry is drastically changing, these changes are not negative and in no ways mean traditional news will die out.
“The notion that the news media are shrinking is mistaken” according to The State of the News Media, an annual report on American Journalism, sponsored by the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism. Though it is hard to ignore the facts that traditional media, like magazines and newspapers have lost readership, only 83.9 percent of Americans read magazines in the Fall of 2009, compared to 84 percent in the Fall of 2007 (The State of the News Media).
Yet “the future of New and Old Media are more tied together than some may think,” according to this report. While there has been exponential growth in digital news, especially by independent information seekers, traditional print media have not been completely abandoned. Many statistics focus on only larger news publications and the loss they are experiencing. Yet community newspapers are still receiving high ratings according to the 2008 National Newspaper Association (NNA) Survey. This is an example of one of the largest shifts in the industry.
As larger news organizations downsize their traditional news formats, an even wider variety of news mediums are appearing. Some of the most significant changes in the industry include the more recent prevalence of independent, local coverage and specific coverage in many communities, on top of the influx of new digital technologies. Due to the growth of the Internet, it is easier than ever for anyone to access information almost immediately. This has required newer technologies to evolve to keep up – which is why mobile news applications are becoming more and more common.
All these changes to the industry will not negatively affect it though. Since news is so easily accessed, journalists now more than ever must work to be the fastest and most accurate in their field.
“Technology is further shifting power to news makers, and the newest way is through their ability to control the initial accounts of events” as stated by the Pew Report. It will be those who can harness new technologies and who understand how traditional media once worked that will find the most opportunities and will participate in the positive changes that this growth and evolution can and will bring to the industry.