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What Will Happen To Newspapers? Are They Going Extinct?

Do you get a newspaper thumping onto your front porch? If you do, chances are the number of people creating that paper has been considerably slashed. A new study shows that 85 percent of daily papers have cut newsroom staff in the last three years. Fewer journalists, means fewer stories — the papers surveyed have cut foreign news by two-thirds and national news by half.

Part of the reason for the shrinkage, is the move toward the web. No longer able to cash in on the lucrative classifieds and ads that fueled a traditional paper, the speed with which the news happens online is causing quite a vortex of information and people to produce it. The study shows that while editors realized the advantages of the web, the energy to produce the material leads to a limited scope of questionable value — not a great trade-off.

And about that move to the web. Traditional once only-paper news sources, like the New York Times now allow comments on certain stories. It's a welcome mat of reader input following in the example of blogs and nonprint media like CNN — allowing unprecedented — and sometimes questionably thought out commentary, once screened by an editorial staff. Should newspapers allow comments on their news stories? Can the sunset of the newspaper trade be buoyed by adopting more web-friendly tactics — or should newspapers stay insular and impartial? What's the future of the black and white and read all over?


Join The Conversation
True-Song True-Song 9 years
I feel guilty sometimes reading the real newspaper given the resources of ink, paper, and the car to get it to my house seem wasteful when it's all available online.
CoralAmber CoralAmber 9 years
We get the Chicago Tribune on the weekends, but we just read our favorite sections and do the crossword puzzles. The things we don't read get strewn about or piled on a side table. After reading the oversized sections I have to wash the ink off my hands. Then there is the extra step of cleaning up the mess and recycling the thing. Honestly it's kind of a hassle for minimal return and we have been contemplating canceling our subscription.
alynn28 alynn28 9 years
good. the los angeles times can go first. ha.
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 9 years
You can personalize your web information, but do it broadly. My iGoogle page has feeds from BBC, Reuters, "Top Stories" and lots of other stuff. I can quickly scan the headlines and decide what to look at first.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
I do think that the days of the newspaper are definitely numbered. Once the primary source of hard news and information it is quickly sliding down a slope in the wake of technology, environmentalism, and a culture that has become too impatient to read much of anything much less a newspaper.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
It's quite sad to see newspapers go the way of the dodo, as print journalism really sets the standard for being actual journalism that delves relatively deeply into the issues at hand, not soundbite-based entertainment dependent on a few striking videos and some blowhards' commentary. I hope (but doubt) that Web journalism will eventually reach that standard. Most TV news is to real news as a TV dinner is to a home-cooked meal.
GLB67 GLB67 9 years
Just a matter of time before we rely totally on the web.
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
If I am denied my Family Circus, someone will pay!
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
newspapers are a thing of the past, the only time i ever see anyone buying them is on sundays (for coupons) and at the library. Why get them when we have the web? I also can look on my local papers website to get information now.
True-Song True-Song 9 years
Haha. I left myself wide open for that one! (PS I never noticed how important the tab key is in my life.)
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
torg - I've been wondering for months if you were going to be able to string together coherent sentences... ;) JK
True-Song True-Song 9 years
Oh good. I spilled water on my keyboard yesterday, and I'm distracted by the 3 or 4 keys still not working and all the resulting typos, and I fear it's affecting my ability to string together coherent sentences.
CitizenSugar CitizenSugar 9 years
Oh! Yes, that makes total sense. There is something to be said for not personalizing everything--how can one determine what makes up their personal tastes and interests, if one isn't exposed to a wide range of stuff? Hmm. Food for thought for sure.
True-Song True-Song 9 years
The nice thing about newspapers is I end up reading about things I wold not have sought out. I have more control over what I read online but much less over what's in the paper so I end up reading things just because it's there. (did that even make sense?)
stephley stephley 9 years
For more than 10 years, I've preferred the web and newsmagazines to most daily newspapers - I've never liked having to deal with the size of the Washington Post or LA Times. I like the Christian Science Monitor for size and content. I agree with Discuit on comments - if I want them, there are certain places I'll go to find them otherwise, I don't read the news to find out what everyone on the planet thinks.
Auntie-Coosa Auntie-Coosa 9 years
Get my national news on the web, local news from the local paper and 'want ads' from craigslist and ebay. LOCAL newspapers and Sunday Editions will soon be the only newspapers available.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
I read my newspaper daily. "I think unless newspapers find a way to utilize current technology, they will eventually go the way of the dinosaur." The interesting thing about this comment is it was said in the mid 60's when television became really big. It was repeated in the 80's with the advent of cable television, and now with internet. The newspaper will always have a place in the media. The newspaper will need to change focus to more local news, but not even espn gives me all the sports stories that I want to read about, like the paper does.
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
i work im media-advertising and i know that the readership has gone down with npprs but there are still a lot of folks who read them every day. i think that there will always be the staples (Wall street journal, USA Today, NY Times). they serve up the information that everyone wants.
lovelie lovelie 9 years
I read most of my news online but I do have a subscription to TIME...hopefully that will stay in publication.
syako syako 9 years
is this why I'm having such a hard time finding a job? :ponder: :shrug: Well, at least in my J school, they trained us for the "shift" if you will. We couldn't graduate until we were Web trained which included designing sites and writing for the Web and I even took a class in blogging in my graduate studies. So hopefully us newbies will have some skills and talents that are desperately needed :fingerscrossed:
RosaDilia RosaDilia 9 years
I read all my news on the web the only paper I buy is the Sunday paper for coupons and sale circulars.
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 9 years
Oh, and I believe as people's lives have gotten busier, newspapers haven't all adapted effectively. I think the Monday through Friday editions should be a bit smaller, and scaled down to perhaps tabloid size, for portability. News analysis--the in-depth stuff--should be left for news magazines and perhaps weekend editions.
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 9 years
I also get most of my news from the web, but I take a paper for local news. I think one of the biggest problems afflicting newspapers is their increasing bias. Absolute top priority for me in a paper is objectivity, and many of the larger dailies are not objective. It is reflected in their choice of stories and in the way they present them. I canceled my Los Angeles Times for precisely that reason, and have heard that many others feel the same (no stats, just anecdotal.)
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
Newspapers are a goner... I think only the Sunday issues have a chance to survive. Gotta love those coupons!
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 9 years
I get most of my news from the web and though I like reading, for example, a hard copy of the Guardian when possible (it's just a more enjoyable experience), I will read the stories on the website just because it's more convenient. But I must say I really despise comments from the general public on news stories - I think that the BBC website has a good balance, as it allows some commentary on its "Have Your Say" section of the news, but I don't need every Tom, Dick, or Harry's opinion at the bottom of the page. If I wanted that, I'd go to a blog or a site specifically meant for dialogue or commentary on the news.
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