The Pros and Cons of Ditching the Traditional Print Newspaper

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With the recent closure of the Rocky Mountain News, it has made many question the fate of traditional print newspapers. An insightful post from PRWeek, titled “Print Closure Hastens Move to New Media,” warns that if other newspapers do not alter their business model quickly, they too might “follow the newspaper into extinction.”

This week I’ve decided to compile a pros/cons list on the switch from traditional print newspapers to online news sources.

The Pros:

Information 24/7: Unlike waiting until the morning to read the latest stories, the Internet has made information instantly available. It has made me wonder, do journalists ever sleep? Take a look at Google News for example, which gives readers the option to search and browse 25,000 news sources updated continuously.

Available in a wide variety of formats: News can be read on a blog or via a Twitter feed; you can listen to news stories on podcasts and online radio programs; and browse through countless search engines.

Accessible to a more diverse demographic: Some people are put off by the newspaper’s traditional format. The wide variety of news formats via the Internet makes information more accessible to people of all tastes and styles. Given they have Internet access…

The forests like it!: While the energy used in powering our computers makes its own environmental impact, at least the burden felt by our forests will be lessened by the disappearance of the conventional newspaper.

The Cons:

Lack of community-focused stories—One of my favorite features of my hometown’s newspaper, The Oregonian, is the community-focused stories; the stories about normal people in my neighborhood doing remarkable things. I can’t “Google” these kinds of stories.

Tired eyes: You know the feeling—hours behind a computer can make anyone’s eyes go crazy.

Eliminates jobs: In the midst of this terrible economy, the last thing anyone wants is to be laid-off from a job; however, when a newspaper shuts down, many people from journalists to photographers and distributors to PR professionals are left jobless.

Crossword: I’ll be honest— The NY Times Crossword is one of my favorite features of any print newspaper. I love sitting down with a cup of coffee and struggling over the daily crossword. It’s a way I pass the time when I’m traveling or waiting for class to start. Trust me, I’ve tried online crossword puzzles and nothing beats the satisfaction of inking your answers on paper.

Credibility? In the PR Newsweek article, “Print Closure Hastens Move to New Media,” it quotes Louis Richmond, CEO of Seattle-based Richmond Public Relations, when he says, “The newspapers have credibility; the blogs are getting credibility, but they haven’t reached it yet.”

What are the pros/cons that come to your mind when comparing a print newspaper to online news? How do you read your news? What are your thoughts on the current state of the traditional print newspaper?

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “The Pros and Cons of Ditching the Traditional Print Newspaper

  1. Maddie,

    I love this post. I think you’ve got it right when you say there are both pros and cons to the switch from traditional media to new media. There is such a hype about new media that sometimes the positives of traditional media get lost.

    I do, however, have one comment about your last con: credibility. I think if PR practitioners don’t do their research, they can accidentally trust a non-credible blog/blogger. But PR practitioners that do their research will easily find bloggers who have built their reputation and credibility in the blogosphere. In fact, in Paull Young’s presentation on an introduction to social media, he states that many people, surveyed, tend to trust their peers.

    I think that a bloggers reputation takes time to build but there are certainly many credible bloggers out there that are trusted by readers just as much, if not more than traditional media resources.

    Great post! Enjoyed the read 🙂

    Amanda

  2. madelinehicks

    Hi Amanda,
    Thank you so much for reading my latest blog post and your great feedback.

    I think your insight about the credibility in the blogosphere is right on. I remember learning in J452 that bloggers are starting to “police” other blogs and calling out posts that lack credibility and accuracy. I hope this continues in the future.

    Another online media pro I thought of last night is the chance to stumble upon stories that you otherwise would never read about in a traditional print newspaper. I can’t tell how many stories I have read this term as a result of following the links on a blog or reading a Twitter feed.

    Thank you again for your feedback! 🙂

  3. kristaberlincourt

    Maddy,

    Great post! I have been thinking about this for some time as the world seems to transition into a digital age. I think the con point you made about the fact that online news can be read in a variety of formats is very true, but I feel like it changes the nature of news. For some reason reading a story about a tragedy on an iPhone doesn’t have the same impact as a good old fashioned newspaper with a picture for added influence. I just don’t think you can beat the simplicity, accessibility and portable nature of a newspaper. You can spill on it, it doesn’t have to be charged, it’s easy to go ‘back’ to the original page and you certainly don’t have to bookmark anything. It should be interesting to see what papers live on in the next few years and what gets phased out.

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