Is print media dead? The internet sure thinks it is. A website named Newspaper Death Watch monitors the rates of print decline and the struggle in the digital era. Through this loud chorus of people chanting that print is dead, there is a small hopeful whisper that all is not lost.
In the western world, newspapers are in decline. In the United States The Wall Street Journal is selling 1,480,725 copies… daily. I would hardly call this a dead medium. This may be less than they were selling in their peak, but over 1 million copies daily still lets them compete in the booming global media market. Large traditional organizations such as The Daily Mirror or The New York Times have suffered but still remain relevant due to their large and loyal readership.
Small local papers are still alive and well. They are doing better than their big city counterparts. People will always want to know what is happening in their own community. 74% of Canadian adults have read the last 4 issues of their community newspaper.
In fact, there are more journalists now than ever before. They may be citizen journalists and we may be getting our information through blogs, but people have a desire to read good writing and uncover the truth. The new (or not so new anymore) phenomenon of going viral shows us this. People want to read and see the news more than ever before. They will share news and participate in the discussion and be a part of the story.
So where is print now? Print and print advertising are still the main sources of revenue (despite the best efforts of paywall) for most newspapers. Magazines are still thriving in print and people still want to read good writing. It has not died. Print is moving to become a more exclusive medium — A more premium medium. We may see the death of the daily newspaper and a move towards a more exclusive weekly paper.
Journalism has now moved from a one way conversation of newspaper to reader, to a two way conversation. Readers have a say. They can tweet and respond and blog about the stories they read. They can be a part of the stories. This is making journalism better. More voices are being heard and conventional ways of thinking and reporting are being challenged and changed.
Should we believe the dooms day predictions? Has print media died? Absolutely not! Print newspapers are very much alive in all corners of the world. It may not be at its peak, but there is still value in having a physical copy of media. Stories best told in a print newspaper will always stay in print. Print still offers credibility and validity. Stories that benefit from a digital medium will move to digital. Print is not dead, but rather part of a larger conglomerate of media sources each unique and equally valuable. It is now just another piece of our large puzzle of information.