This archived article was written by: Scott Froehlich vs Paige Martinez
Read traditional news by: Scott Froehlich
In the age of the Internet and the mass media being distributed therewithin, the need for traditional news has been called into question. Many believe newspapers and magazines are becoming obsolete, as social networking and alternative sources draw new readers in every day. While it is true that these innovative outlets provide an open forum for news sharing, many factors come into play when considering this “brave new world” of journalism and reporting as a viable alternative.
According to the Pew Research Center’s “State of the News Media,” newspaper circulation fell over 8 percent over the past year alone. Although this figure is indicative of the trend in overall readership, it overshadows a recent spike of online subscriptions. During the year following the 2016 election, many newspaper companies reported significantly higher numbers of new subscribers.
In what is known as the “Trump Bump,” the now-president’s constant attacks towards mainstream media drew swaths of people to publications such as the “New York Times” and “The Washington Post”.
It is important for Americans to stand by these sources of journalism despite the backlash that has befallen them in recent years. Not only are they reliable and time-tested, they are also professional and held accountable for their content. Outside sources of news found on the fringes of the political spectrum utilize extreme sensationalism and unchecked assertions that are passed off as “factual reporting.”
While yellow journalism isn’t a new practice, the use of such shameless purveying of false information damages the credibility of the press.
Another factor that hinders one’s grasp of current events is the over-saturation of content in social media.
As much as we may try to avoid it, current events dominate our Facebook feeds and we are forced to skim through the headlines. For those who rely on Facebook for their primary source of news, the time spent reading is limited. Between updating one’s status and checking in on friends or family, there is hardly time dedicated to truly absorb information.
There is no doubt that traditional print is in decline, with online media posing the biggest threat to its existence. However, it is important to not turn our backs on those publications, especially those labeled as “fake news.” Such attacks on the press inhibit the population’s need for critical thinking and creates a breeding ground for actual false reporting.
No one reads the news by: Paige Martinez
If you look around the buildings at USU Eastern, there is likely an abundance of untouched newspapers. It is not uncommon to see stacks of old editions cluttering the space for the next one. Students aren’t reading the newspaper. Why aren’t they?
The average undergraduate student at USU is 22 to 23 years old, according to the Utah State University Quick Facts. This places the average student in transition between the generations of “Millennials” and “Gen Z”. We can look at information about millennials to get a better idea of the students of USU Eastern and their relationship with newspaper.
Millennials have killed more than just the housing market with their avocado toast. Derek Thompson writes in his article “The Print Apocalypse and How to Survive It” in the Atlantic, “Between 2000 and 2015, print newspaper advertising revenue fell from about $60 billion to about $20 billion, wiping out the gains of the previous 50 years.” Bottom line is, millennials are not reading the newspaper.
This doe not mean that they are not reading the news. According to a survey by the American Press Institute, 39 percent of millennials actively seek out news and 60 percent of millennials encounter news daily on social media. The average student gets their news from less traditional outlets. With online options competing for attention, it’s hard to find a reason to pick up a small-town school newspaper.
Online news outlets bring benefits that are unrivaled with the old school hard copy. It is easier to read on-the-go, more accessible to everyone and allows for an environment of fact checking. In that same survey by the American Press Institute, 63 percent of millennials chose to search for more information about the news they read.
Furthermore, using a digital platform allows for greater access to discussion and interaction through things such as the comment sections. Often times, there will be more information and points brought up among the readers. In traditional newspaper, someone would have to write a letter to the editor and that is uncommon due to the amount of effort that requires.
They also have access to a wide variety of opinions. There is the fear of an opinion bubble forming with those who receive most of their information online. However, 73 percent of millennials in the survey reported reading a wide variety of opinions. It is easier to search out those differing views because you don’t have to be financially for physically invested in them. How many of us would purchase a newspaper that we knew only had opposite beliefs?
What does this mean for USU Eastern students? It means that they are not reading the newspaper. They are already used to getting their information online and have not been raised to pick up a newspaper. Their money is being put towards an information distribution system that is ineffective. As a newspaper staff, it may be time for us to rethink our strategy.
But it’s not like anyone is reading this anyway.