Internet, Media and Change

Traditionally, you wake up and brew your cup of joe or tea and venture outside to retrieve the daily newspaper. Or not.

It’s obvious the newspaper industry is suffering from declining readership and circulation. This is occurring due to a theme we can’t help but embrace-change. We now have alternative forms of news and many updated habits for Americans.

The Internet and free new sites, such as larger newspaper and network sites like CNN, MSNBC, and Yahoo receive credit for playing a chief role in the difficulties experienced by the newspaper industry. But in this digital age, most of the readers look for online editions. What’s odd is that newspapers now have more readers than ever, especially among younger people.

However, there are incentives in embracing change. The rapid decrease of print media will heavily impact our society, and the current struggle to “go green” and “save the world” must take place. So, we get a rolling affect. Of course technology, or online media, will likely follow. The main issue is simply that fewer consumers are paying for their news. If news organizations give away their news, then why pay? Although I still make effort to read the newspaper, I still check out online editions when I don’t feel like walking to the library.

But maybe the Internet isn’t all to blame. Newspaper pioneers didn’t see it coming, but decided to deal with it with in several ways. Remember when the public was educated about the actions required of them by copyright law? Or when new payment models like micropayments popped up and the convincing of tech firms to make hardware less able to share?

Those who are committed to saving newspapers demand to know what will work, if the original plan isn’t working. So what’s the solution? Is there an answer to this dilemma? The answer is: Nothing. Nothing will work. There is no general model for newspapers to restore the one the internet just broke.

Back in May, I read how the Senate projects a dim future for newspapers. Andrew Miga of the Associated Press writes that “One way to save some of the nation’s struggling newspapers would be to let them become nonprofits similar to public broadcasting stations…Under a bill proposed by Cardin [Senator D-Md], newspapers turning to nonprofit status would no longer be able to make political endorsements but could report on all issues including political campaigns. Advertising and subscription revenue would be tax-exempt and contributions to support coverage could be tax deductable.”

So what is this? A government bailout for newspapers? Apparently even shows like “The Wire” explore how the news media covers and fails to cover political and social changes. All old economics are shattered and organized forms perfected for industrial production have to be replaced with structures optimized for digital data. The heart of the problem publishing solves is the awesome obscurity and expenditure of making something accessible to the public-has stopped being a problem.

Print media covers much of society’s heavy journalistic lifting, by covering every angle of a huge story. It creates benefits even for people are not newspaper readers. The newspaper is an advantage to society, but irrelevant to the dilemma. Many cry, “You’ll miss it when it’s gone!”-but I still have to ask, who’s going to cover the news of employed newspaper people losing their jobs, then?