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The Death of The Newspaper

“The newspaper is dead, long live the newspaper!? This statement has been seen throughout internet blogs, online postings, and electronic news sources themselves. The death of the newspaper seems to be imminent, Jill Lepore of The New Yorker claims the death of the newspaper may come “Not so soon as weeks or months, but not so far off as decades, either.? This poses many interesting questions about how this event will occur, and how it will affect the daily life of Americans thereafter. Is the newspaper really dying out? What will come in its place? Does anyone really care?

Upon analysis of Jill Lepore’s article in The New Yorker “The Day the Newspaper Died? one can gather assumptions about where exactly the newspaper is going. The answer is reincarnation. The newspaper is going online, hitting the internet to appeal to the new technologically advanced generation. It was really only a matter of time before the newspaper would conform to the internet “fad,? and it really has been a long time coming. Increase in internet newspaper blogging has been seen as early as the year 2000, and has seen 210% increases (2006 Nielson/net ratings) year over year recently. This new trend in news delivery has newspapers claiming the death of hard print as we know it.

As an 18 year old college student who has been forced to become tech savvy in recent years I wonder who wouldn’t want to make the transformation from hard news delivery on paper to easier to process, easier to access websites? It is comparable to how the early automobiles overtook use of the horse and buggy. It is comparable to how Blue-Ray overtook DVD overtook VHS. This world is moving at such a fast pace that by the time the newspaper is printed and delivered it is practically in the trash already. Things change, and I think that we should embrace the technology rather than resist it. Wouldn’t it make sense to save the paper and ink that is used to create the newspapers that ultimately end up in the trash? There is so much talk in the news lately about going green and the move to an ecologically stable system. Perhaps those talking about going green should go green themselves, and take their disputes to the web.

Bernie Hayden, Author of the web article “Recession is the End for U.S. Newspapers as We Know Them,? claims that though “the newspaper was fat with profit through the 1980’s, the industry never fully recovered from the recession of 1990.? It is unreasonable to think that print can recover during the hard economic times today let alone the recession 20 years ago. The recent trend in the massive newspapers is to outsource their workers. Imagine that, someone in India writing headlines for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The Newsday from New York, the Chicago Tribune, and the Los Angeles Times have even recently posted for sale signs on some of their buildings. Hayden states in his article “Who is going to be crazy enough to buy those skyscrapers? Foreign investors, of course.?

According to the Washington Post, newspaper subscription has declined 1.9% over the last six months, and continues a twenty year trend of declining newspaper interest as people not only turn to the internet, but also the twenty-four hour cable news networks. These statistics allude to my question at the beginning of this essay: Does anyone care that the newspaper is indeed dying? In 1765, the newspaper was claimed dead in a similar matter, however it was met with a sense of gloom and sympathy. Lepore claims that “you can read all about [the death of the newspaper] online, blog by blog, where the digital gloom over the death of an industry often veils, if thinly, a pallid glee.? It seems as though the sympathy that greeted the claim of doomed print is nowhere to be found in this day and age. This may be because we have an alternative, more efficient, more convenient way to replace print. The people are choosing to retract their subscriptions from their local news source because they find other ways of reading the news superior to hard print.

As more and more subscribers change to the web, it is easy to see that as times are changing, people are adapting. The facts are that for every retired, technology deficient old school senior who refuses to turn to the internet there is an increasing number of young, tech savvy, and possibly even lazy teenagers that will for years to come surf the web for their news. Perhaps the newspaper is dying, perhaps print as we know it will be extinct in a couple of years, but the newspaper isn’t really dying. News is changing, it will forever be changing, and as for me, I will take my news on my seventeen inch laptop screen at a time of my choosing, thank you.

Works Cited
Lepore, Jill. "The day the newspaper died." The New Yorker (2009): 1-2.

End of the daily newspaper. Dec 18 2008.

Newspaper Circulation Continues to Decline. 03 May 2005. The Washington Post


I completely agree with you that the newspaper as we know it is changing. There is no doubt in my mind that newspapers, magazines and other frequently read forms of media are making the move to having their content on the web; probably exclusively on the web eventually. This is, as you said, a good thing for the “Green Movement? and also for anyone not willing to wait for their news or willing to get off the couch to get the paper.

That being said, I take issue with one potential problem that could arise with the movement to online news and media: a decline in the quality of writing. I spend many wasted minutes (or hours) every day looking at my Facebook page. Do you know what I see there? Wall posts and picture comments so full of LOL’s, OMG’s, second grade-quality sentence fragments, there/their/they’re mistakes, spelling errors, uncapitalized proper nouns, generic adjectives, and overall poorly executed sentences that have zero relevancy to anything intellectual that it makes me, a wholly mediocre writer, want to throw a dictionary, grammar reader and thesaurus at them all at once. I can’t even begin to fathom how Hemingway would feel. “But the authors of these articles online are professionals,? you might argue. That point I cannot argue; the columnists and authors of reputable media outlets are just as qualified and legitimate as their printed counterparts. However, in the next 10, 20, or even 30 years, many, if not most or all, of these writers will not be writing articles for The New York Times, Washington Post, etc. They will be writing for fun in between rounds of golf in their condos in Boca Raton, Florida. The writers of tomorrow are teenagers right now. According to a 2004 MSNBC article on teenage cell phone use, 56% of 13 to 17 year olds have cell phones. That was in 2004. According to that same article, in 2000 the figure for that same demographic was just 5%. That means with growth anywhere near that same amount over the last 4 years, almost all teens nowadays have cell phones. It scares me that the people that will be writing the news I read when I’m older just sent a text that says “omg wat r u doin l8r 2nite????

You make a strong point when you say that as we know it right now in the future the newspaper will be gone. It seems like a very practical thing to do as well, when like you said, all the ink and the paper being used to make the newspaper is just pretty much getting thrown away shortly after the printing anyway. The world really is always at a fast pace and constantly changing; to keep up with everything else the newspaper one day will be entirely on the internet. Other things will change after that, it’s just the cycle that everything goes through. I also agree with you that when a country is in economic tough times such as the U.S. now, that newspapers take a big hit and never really recover from the blow. Those situations are permanent damage to any industry and this one in particular just keeps taking the hit. The thing I agreed with you the most on is the fact that the newspaper isn’t actually dying its just being transformed and put in a different place because the hard copy is being replaced by having it an the internet. For now the “old school” people will still have the hard copy to read, but the majority of the society wants the computer version. Since the general public will eventually push more for it the demand will drive the change to happen sometime. I also think that there is no point to trying to stop the transition because it will happen it’s just the way things are. If you embrace the change it should make things easier and more convenient when it comes to obtaining interesting things issues in the news.

This is the first blog I read on my new Droid. I'm bookmarking for nostalga.