State of the News Media

By Fin Martinez

With each new introduction of a medium, evolution and adaptation occur. When radio arrived, print had to adapt to survive as it was no longer the main source of information to the people. Information was being distributed even faster, because instead of readers having to wait five hours until the next print edition arrived, the news could be broken as it developed because of the instantaneous nature of radio. Print began to provide follow-up coverage and provided the visuals for the news with its photographs. When television news came into the picture, radio had to change its pace and print had to change its way of reporting news. TV had visuals, radio had the quick response, and print had to resort to analysis and investigative pieces.

With the emergence of the internet, media has become a new animal. The internet connects the planet in a global web of information coming from any location, at any time, to any source that wants to tell the story. Newspapers are quickly becoming irrelevant as print is becoming digital and publishing constantly instead of daily newspapers. Some publications have begun printing weekly editions to cut costs.

According to the Pew Research Center, weekday circulation of newspapers has fallen seven percent in 2015 with an additional fall of 4 percent for Sunday editions. Newspaper employment has fallen 39 percent in the past 20 years, according the Pew Center’s report, which translates to a loss of 20,000 positions. Many publications have begun to transition to digital to keep up with the age of the internet.

Media has become expedited. A poll by PEW has shown that 62 percent of adult readers find their news through some form of social media. Facebook, Reddit and Twitter have become the main sites for users to find news.

Twitter has been adopted by journalists to find information and to promote stories. Tweets are being used by television news sources to quote sources, but despite this surge in popularity media still relies heavily on print news stories.

Television host John Oliver broadcasted a segment on his show “Last Week Tonight” where he emphasized the importance of print journalism to his and other television news sources reports.

“It’s pretty obvious that without newspapers around to cite TV news would just be Wolf Blitzer endlessly batting a ball of yarn around,” Oliver said in his report, “and it’s not just news outlets, stupid shows like ours lean heavily on local papers.”

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Newsroom” by Martin Deutsch licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Oliver’s show, a cable news program that has a large Youtube following, asserts that if it weren’t for the information that print journalists publish in local newspapers that broadcast news outlets wouldn’t have supporting material for their stories.

Print news sources are disappearing because their online advertising produces less revenue than in the past, falling 7 percent from 2014 to 2015 according the Pew institute. Print journalism is as popular as it once was, and internet news sources rely on local newspapers for their information.

It’s a Catch-22 that to provide information print and online news sources need to produce revenue and go digital but by going digital news sources lack revenue and can’t afford to pay journalists to produce information which leaves Television outlets, internet outlets and radio outlets without material.

 

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