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Has Digital Killed the Print Media Star?

Posted: 30/08/2012 20:50

Us millennials are a unique bunch: we can boast of having lived in both the Analog Age and the Age of Digitalisation.

The Analog Age was a period when people lived with four television channels and cartoon viewing was limited to 2 hours in the afternoon and Saturday mornings. It was also the Age of black boards, snail mail and primitive computer games.

There were no fancy mobile phones, and the ones that did exist were practically hewn out of stone. We had no apps and the word social media hadn't been invented never mind the actual thing.

But in the space of two decades things have changed radically.

Enter the Age of Digital Creep: an Age of growing digitalisation where facebook, twitter, skype, ipads and 3D TV have become standard and new features appear weekly.

However we're yet to see a wholly distinct and binary division between a fully Digital and Analog Age. It will come, but the reality is the world is going through a slow and often painful transition.

And one aspect of modern life and a ubiquitous feature of the Analog Age is especially feeling the pain from the transition: the classic newspaper.

Yea men used to sit behind newspapers at the breakfast table and the tube into work, but now as digitalism grows, they swipe and swoosh on their ipad.

And there's been a cost to this.

Circulation of newspapers has been steadily declining, editors have cut staff, tightened up operations, and some have even shut up shop for good or moved publishing online.

So: how does the future look for the newspaper and classic print journalism?

Well there's a few schools of thought.

Some commentators and analysts have been making noise saying the print format will, in a matter of years, be as dead as the dodo.

Whereas Mick Fealty, editor of sluggerotoole.com and the consummate digital publisher, has said that whilst there will be a mortality rate, he added that for those newspapers who adapt and experiment, the existential threat can be dodged.

Mike Gilson, editor of the Belfast Telegraph, has stated firmly that there is a bright future for classic print journalism; suggesting that newspapers will evolve to the changing environment by dropping their frequency and by providing more sophisticated analysis and sellable content.

You can listen to what Mike Gilson said here: http://snd.sc/PT3gqp

I'm undecided on the future of print journalism but I'm sure of one thing: ever increasing digitalisation, which has spawned the blog and twitter, has brought about the democratisation of reporting, journalism, writing and commentary.

Reporting was once the reserve of a select few; however the blog has given every man and woman their own printing press and license to publish their thoughts.

This has given real meaning and empowerment to the notion of freedom of expression.

So increasing digitalisation can only be a good thing.

 

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