The 21st Century Endangered Species

“For people who still love print, who like to hold it, feel it, rustle it, tear stuff out, do their I. F. Stone thing, it’s important to remember that people are living longer. That’s the most hopeful thing you can say about print journalism, that old people are living longer.” (Phil Bronstein, San Francisco Chronicle editor at large)

 

     The word is out… young people are not reading newspapers. That’s typically been an older person thing and now that the state of the newspaper industry is up in the air, there may not be newspaper print available by the time the new generation reaches their old age! Why don’t many 20yr olds rely on print for their news? One culprit… the internet. This generation grew up with the advent of the World Wide Web and have taken it and run with it. Newspapers didn’t stand a chance with them. It’s like comparing the mental math ability of the person who was taught on the abacus to the person who had a calculator at his/her disposal.

      I’m ashamed to admit that I am guilty as well. When was the last time I read a newspaper? I certainly haven’t picked up one this year. Shameful. What’s even more pitiful is that I am not alone. Just out of curiosity I asked ten of my peers (age 21-28) if they had read a single newspaper at all this year, sadly only 2 of the 10 had and they did so for a specific reason, not for leisure.

      Phil Bronstein of the San Francisco Chronicle remarked that it is the older generation that may have been keeping the newspaper industry on life support for these past few years. If that is true, then has the countdown begun for its extinction? How can newspapers appeal to the younger generations who just aren’t interested in what they’re selling?

     This is a question that is surely being pondered across newsrooms today. They see the great divide and are no doubt scrambling to keep their ships afloat. If the internet is one of the causes for this problem, then it stands to reason that it should be factored into the solution as well. Fighting fire with fire. This is the direction that many newspapers are already going in. As with most things, technology is the catalyst for bigger things in the future, though better has yet to be determined.

      (Written in response to this New York Times article by Maureen Dowd: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/26/opinion/26dowd.html?scp=33&sq=journalism&st=cse )

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~ by kayemjay on May 4, 2009.

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