Communication in 2017: And the Death of Print Newspapers

by AUTUMN MACDONALD

In 2016, Edda Humprecht and Frank Esser mapped various news websites across the world to examine models in which media companies adapt to the rapidly changing environment of web-based media. They focused on the benefits of digital journalism, noting that political reporting has essentially been revolutionized through the use of hyperlinks, interactive platforms and it’s overall ability to provide background information. Indeed, there is a blatant transition from print to web in businesses across the globe, and journal agencies are being hit hard by this transition. But is digital all that it’s cracked up to be?

Digital disruption refers to the effects of digital technologies, such as social media, on the value of existing goods and services. Transparency of facts are often smudged in order to be “first to report”. News cycles operate at shorter time spans and an attitude of  “first to report” incorporates by any means necessary. On television, dead air is feared more than inaccuracy: essentially media sources prefer a higher quantity of views rather than reporting accurate, credible information. De facto journalists run rampant in society today.

Clickbait is essentially the online adaptation to “dead air” or lack of news viewers. Buzzfeed is amazing at creating clickbait. Headlines that are considered clickbait are purposely designed to attract attention and encourage website visitors. The use of lists attracts visitors because of a perceived “short read”, yet you have to flip through 10 separate web pages on your mobile for “15 easy steps to lose weight”. Capital letters and exclamations of “I can’t believe she did this…” or “99% fail this test” entice readers to click, yet the content often doesn’t deliver. Advertising agencies often base their contract value to website owners based on how much online traffic they have. So some news sources will do whatever they can to increase visitor traffic to meet or surpass quotas. Clickbait aids in this process.

Print fails is in it’s reachability – print can’t go viral. And that’s all that matters now a days. Views. Not content. I think this is where the digital realm fails. The quantity of time that is spent in editing a printed issue is indefinitely greater than that of uploading online content. Publication schedules are less flexible in print and thus the writing must be planned far in advance.

Where do we fit in the picture? The Dagligtale tries to offer a fun way on delivering content. We aim to have writers choose stories that they have personal connections to. Not necessarily what readers will want to read at first glance. But after looking a bit closer, like I do when I edit stories, reading our content has the joys of a personal spin in each piece.
Think about the time spent writing a letter to someone versus sending a Snapchat or a text. I think the same is to be said in regards to printed news sources versus news content online. Something that is printed requires dedication and determination since what is printed in ink can’t be erased. Blogs can be deleted by a touch of a button.  

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