Out with old, in with the new? Print v. Digital

Don’t panic.

As a young journalist myself, i’m willing to bet print isn’t going to undergo any form of “extinction” anytime soon.

However, the drastic decline of sales in print newspapers both domestic and international has proved otherwise in even some of the most successful print publications.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/04/business/media/the-new-day-a-british-upstart-casts-its-fate-to-the-newsstand.html?_r=0

The New Day, fairly new British print publication, is beginning a new trend.  I can sympathize and moreover relate to what this paper is trying to accomplish.

My colleagues and I and aim to achieve a  similar goal in mind  Hawkeye (ULM Campus newspaper.)  The New Day’s platform is simple yet difficult to cultivate– evolving print in competition with the digital new-age.

I can only compare what I know based on my own experiences. I know the Hawkeye, front to back and every blood, sweat and tear that’s poured into designing a weekly tabloid paper– it’s far from easy.

The New Day (like the Hawkeye) is a compilation of local, regional and national top news. It also provides a wide combination of human-interest features, coverage of pop culture, sports, entertainment, health and travel– even advice columns.

Yet the “British Upstart” has taken a chance on something most publications wouldn’t dare. They are strictly print, meaning no website and no app. They do not sell subscriptions and only circulate form newsstands for 70 cents each.

http://www.ulmhawkeyeonline.comIMG_1402 (1)

The Hawkeye, though like the New Day, varies in the digital aspect. ULM’s campus newspaper updates it’s Facebook page as well as the Twitter account weekly and even daily for breaking news.

The Hawkeye staff, much like the New Day, believe in the tradition of print. I’m not sure that it will ever die but I know that I’m not concerned for its’ future.

Dr. Smith, Director of the ULM College of Humanities, said “I believe print became a difficult read for this generation. People began to dismiss traditional papers as the ‘old generation’ and opted out. Instead the switch to ‘digital-only’ has become apart of this society’s culture.”

Sure the convenience of free content online using our mobile phones and other devices is a bonus– some of us couldn’t manage life without it. But what drove people away from the preference of print versus digital?

According to the New York Times, Alison Phillips editor of The New Day, said ” there is still a significant number of people who have the habit in their blood of paying for content.”

Could Philips be referring to the pre-digital generation? Meaning, senior citizens and anyone else opposed to using technology, etc.?

The individuals who are loyal customers to paying for print content are those who prefer the experience of reading offline– hands-on readers, as I like to call it.

As Dr. Smith stated, could it be that print became unappealing and too difficult to follow so society is making the digital switch?

Or blame it on society and deem ourselves “too lazy” to flip through and read a traditional newspaper– “why buy the bulk when I can scroll for free?”

Mark Reedy, Junior Construction Management major said,”I enjoy the Hawkeye because it’s college-friendly. It’s topics  I can read in the headlines but I really enjoy it because the content circles back to me as a student.”

Although Reedy is a fan of picking up a print copy of the campus publication, he also said he likes the digital aspect because he can follow up with campus events and other news through social media.

“I love getting the news to my phone because it’s easier. I’m always on my phone so print switching over to digital makes sense… it’s the world we live in now,” said Reedy.

But even a low-cost newspaper like The New Day needs loyal readers. It’s survival of the fittest. If most people are consuming news on mobile devices this will change news for everyone– print, digital and its’ readers.

http://www.theguardian.com/media-network/2014/nov/07/newspapers-not-dying-buzzfeed-new-york-times

But if print is “dying out” as the tabloids claim they are than how has the New Day proved to be substantially successful as a print-only publication?

Perhaps the New Day has survived as long as it has because of it’s well seasoned leadership. Phillips was the former editor of two other major weeklies under Trinity Mirror Publications.

Although the Hawkeye is mainly funded through student fees, the campus paper circulates more traffic than it’s website. But how if the digital age is allegedly taking over?

IMG_1404

Not to promote, but the Hawkeye (a lot like the new Day) works towards Philip’s philosophy, “evolving print into more of a visual, photo-driven publication by toying with color, design and typography is what I believe print needs in order to survive in this digital era.”

I stand with Phillips. I too believe with the right strategy and a heck of an experienced staff, there is still room for success in print publishing.

Is the New Day and other print publications like it standing for the rebirth of a “new pint-beginning”  or is this a fated attempt to save what many believe to be a dying tradition?

Out with the old? In with the new?

Print or digital. Journalism will never die.

 

 

 

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One thought on “Out with old, in with the new? Print v. Digital

  1. CM

    Nice story with good quotes and sources. I agree with you…I think print will always have a place in the media constellation. It is expensive to put ink on paper and distribute it, but there will always be a niche market. What matters is what’s on the printed page or screen, and that starts with good journalism. That never goes out of style.

    Like

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