Mass media has always played an extremely important role in all people’s life. It elucidates the most significant events and in many ways molds public opinion. Till recently newspapers and magazines have been the main sources of the latest news in the modern world and due to them we are in the course of current events. Journalists work hard in all corners of the world and do their best to supply us with all facts and details of one or another situation. They conduct surveys, interview people, pursue celebrities and do all kind of work in order to be the first. All issues have always been competing while getting the information at first hand. But everything has changed when the Internet appeared. With the invasion of the Internet into our life, people started using it as the main source of information. Everywhere we go we hear about the Internet. It is on television, in magazines, newspapers, and in schools. One might think that this network of millions of computers around the globe is as fast and captivating as television, but with more and more users logging on everyday and staying on longer and longer, this “Information Superhighway” could be perhaps more correctly referred to as an expressway of big city center at rush hour. It is estimated that thirty five to forty millions users currently are on the Internet and their number is growing annually. According to a recent statistics, an average Internet call last five times as longer as the average regular telephone call.
With such increasing use of the Internet, even old respectable newspapers experienced the decline of popularity and therefore the decrease of incomes. Certainly, it became obvious that in order to gain the former popularity, it is necessary to adapt to the modern world and to the innovations that appear nowadays. “It’s true the Internet revolution caught newspapers off guard. But it is obvious that they have realized their mistakes and are frantically trying to make up for them. When considering the direction in which the media world is moving, with a little more time and investment in their Internet operations, newspapers should be able to adapt their journalism and role in society. This, however, can only happen with the patience and support of their boards and shareholders.” (Myton, 2007) During the last century newspapers were challenged by radio and television, today the Internet is trying to replace them. It seizes not only readers but advertising as well and thus causes more damage to newsprint.
Many critics who analyzed this problem agreed that the future of newspapers is closely connected to the Internet as the World Wide Web has absorbed the attention of all people and has really become the main source of information. That is why many issues established their online versions, where readers can get as much information as in their printed versions. Newspaper publishers are not going to give up to the Internet, instead they are using the latest innovations to optimize their work and to regain the former significance. Many editions did not stand the competition and went bankrupt and disappeared, but such nationwide newspapers as New York Daily News, Washington Post, USA Today or Wall Street Journal even benefited from this situation and nowadays they are popular both among readers of newspapers and among users of the Internet who read the latest editions online. Those newspapers that managed to hold their positions also sell their articles on the Internet, and their online editions are not inferior to their print versions.
This problem came to my attention when I understood that today Americans almost never buy newspapers and get all the information on the Internet. On the one hand, it is very convenient as you have the possibility to get the information free and in any time. Besides, you do not need to stock heaps of paper and go through them every time you need to learn something about some remote events. You just join the Internet and within few seconds get all the information. The majority of people agree that due to their rigid schedule, they have very little spare time to sit and to read a newspaper, while using the Internet, they can save their time and learn the latest news.
There are different and sometimes even opposite points of view on the future of this topic. Critics say that newspapers slowly disappear and have no future. “One recent prediction foreshadows the first quarter of 2043 as the moment when newsprint dies in the US as the last exhausted reader tosses aside the last crumpled edition. Newspapers are seen as an endangered species with the business of selling words to readers and selling readers to advertisers… falling apart”. (Myton, 2007) Their point of view is based on the fact that modern generations are far from reading books, newspapers and magazines. Indeed, they rarely read news on the Internet, but if they have to do it they will prefer it to printed versions. The statistics shows that young people rarely visit newspaper sites and prefer to get the information online. “Readers are abandoning newspapers. Last year the number of adults that read newspapers in the US fell below 50 per cent according to figures from the Newspaper Association of America. The stats reveal a steady fall, from 58.6 per cent 1998 to 49.9 per cent in 2006. The fall in readership would be largely due to the internet and its ability to deliver news when and where you want it” (Howard, 2007)
Our century of technological innovations every day provides us with some kind of a breakthrough that gives us new possibilities of being more mobile and progressive. Those mass media that were popular decades ago have to be abreast with the times if they want to exist. Earlier the tempo of living was much slower and measured. It was a real ceremony for people to read a morning newspaper, today people do not have time for that, so newspapers use all opportunities to attract public attention and make people buy the issues. With their enormous circulation report, different kinds of news they can supply any kind of information. They carry articles that cover the latest international and national events, all kind rumors, advertising, fun stories, biographies of well-known people, etc. You can buy newspapers also for the radio and TV programs, where a full coverage of commercial, financial and public affairs is given. There are newspapers and magazines for young people. They give a wide assortment of news, events and reports on education, sports, cultural life, entertainment, fashion, etc.
Therefore, there are journalists who claim that newspapers and magazines are of great vitality and can compete with each other and even with the Internet. Gradually people realize the drawbacks of the Internet and the main task of newspapers is to strike at the weak points and to thrive in these circumstances. “It will be a long time before displays [online] will be as good as paper. A laptop runs out of battery and you can’t tuck it under your arm.” (Burke, 2005) Besides during the last past decades Americans have become rather distrustful of the information in the mass media and the Internet does not enjoy their confidence. It is generally known that the facts on the Internet are not always established and people have used to believe printed editions more.
To make a conclusion, this topic is very controversial and it is really very hard to predict the future of this dilemma. From my point of view, newspapers and magazines will preserve their significance in the modern world of high technologies and with the course of time, they might even surpass the popularity of the Internet.
1. Myton David, (May 10, 2007) Newspapers: how the Internet is forcing innovation, retrieved May 15, 2007 from http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp
2. Burke John, (November 15, 2005) Knight Ridder’s problems illustrate newspapers’ troubled Internet adaptation, retrieved May 15, 2007 from http://www.foxnews.com
3. Walter E. Hussman Jr. (May 7, 2007) How to Sink a Newspaper The Wall Street Journal
4. News Corp.’s Murdoch: Newspapers Must Embrace Internet (April 13, 2005) retrieved May 15, 2007 http://www.foxnews.com
5. Kurtz Howard, (May 14, 2007) Critiquing the Press, Washington Post
6. Annett Tim, (May 4, 2007), The Evening Wrap: Wrestling With Google, The Wall Street Journal