From the invention of the printing press until the spawn of the web browser, the most popular form of journalism was in print. Magazines, newspapers and any other tangible source of news was the common medium for all Americans. Fast forward about 20 years and we see a much different story.
The digital revolution is upon us and the best, most up-to-date journalism takes place online now. All major news companies have mobile apps and social media accounts that are updated to the minute. Studies like the Pew Research Center’s report on U.S. news consumption habits released in 2016, showed most Americans get the majority of their news from television. But the second most popular media, ahead of the print newspaper and radio, was online through either social media, websites or smartphone apps.
Print sources just don not cut it anymore. They are more expensive to produce (paper, ink, printing), they are bulkier and digital sources are simply more convenient. With digital media, writers can now edit and publish their content for the web on the go, creating less of a hassle for news editors.
The rise of social media factored heavily into the digitalization of media companies, especially sports news outlets. In 2007, social media platforms Twitter and Facebook were mainly just for individual people looking to keep up with their friends and family. Ten years later and it is hard to find a single company without some form of social media. Flagship sports brands like ESPN and Bleacher Report can update game scores through a simple Tweet or Facebook post. Customer service for major U.S. retailers can even be done through Twitter now.
This is also the one advantage that print sources will never have on digital outlets: interaction. Consumers love being able to post their thoughts in the comments section of a news story, or talk directly to the writer of an article through a tweet.
Of course, access to social media would not be so convenient were it not for the invention of the modern-day smartphone. Apple’s unveiling of the App Store in 2008 marked the birth of a new mobile communications revolution, allowing applications to be installed on iPhones, making the smartphone more like a handheld computer than a phone. This brought new changes to the way news could be consumed, one of which was push notifications.
Push notifications work like text message updates, except they don not count toward a phone plan’s monthly text message limit. Plus, tapping on the short news blurb and being taken right to the full story or live coverage of an event is far more interesting than waiting until tomorrow’s paper to get the update.
All of this new technology comes at a price, however.
The digital wave’s effects can even be felt at the local level. Syracuse’s local newspaper, The Post-Standard, reduced their home delivery to just three days per week in 2012. Staff cuts had to be made, online subscriptions increased, and now syracuse.com is the paper’s main platform for updates.
Complex Magazine was a semi-monthly print publication that started in 2002 but converted to an all-digital media company in December 2016. Cover stories now appear on their website.
The hairline on the head of print journalism has already begun to recede, and shows no sign of stopping anytime soon. Digital journalism and news consumption is the future.
Source Used: http://www.journalism.org/2016/07/07/pathways-to-news/
Word Count: 556