Newspapers are here to stay

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Newspapers are still the primary source of news for a vast majority of the population.

By Malika Kaloo

Almost a decade ago, the smell of newsprint combined with the aroma of coffee was a part of typical mornings of many people around the world. However, with technological advancements and digitalization, newspaper readership has declined.

But the question that arises is are newspapers going to die any time soon?

Although newspaper circulation has witnessed a significant drop over the last decade, it remains a vital part of the media industry. Undeniably, digital media is the future but most of the biggest media houses around the globe still publish their print version and enjoy a loyal base of readers. This is because the rise of digital media has not been able to make print irrelevant. 

Newspapers, especially community based, are still the primary source of news for a vast majority of the population. According to a recent study by Nielsen Scarborough, 69% of the population in the United States reads news, with print being the most popular format.

This is because the audience considers tangible newspapers to be more credible than the digital format. The main reason is that it is very easy to manipulate information that is published on the internet. Anyone with access to the digital database can change the content even after years. 

On the other hand, once published, it is impossible to alter the information in the newspapers. The tangibility of newsprint allows readers to touch the pages, turn them and develop a sense of trust in its content.

A report by “Two Sidesa graphic communications website,  reveals that 63% of people believe that they develop a deeper understanding of news when reading it in print while in another survey, 76% of people say they are worried about fake news and misinformation on digital news media platforms. 

Despite the ever-growing outreach of the internet, there are still places where it is restricted or its access is limited, especially in wars and conflict zones. For people living in such places, the print format of the newspapers is the primary source of information. 

Interestingly, people trust their local newspapers more than national and international news organizations that publish news online because they have a direct connection with them. Local newspapers are often more responsible because they can be directly held accountable by their readers. As a result, people in small towns and cities still prefer reading their local newspapers, creating a circulation base for them. 

The main source of revenue for newspapers has always been advertisements, even though the contribution of circulation cannot be undermined. Over the last decade, digital space has helped advertisers reach a wider audience. However, print advertisements are still considered vital for advertising campaigns because of their longer lifespan. Companies spend millions on print advertisements each year. A Statista research shows that from 2016 to 2021, the U.S. spent around 24.66 billion dollars on print advertising. As long as newspapers can earn their revenue from advertisements, print media cannot become obsolete.  

 Also, print media economically supports other sectors like the paper industry, ink manufacturers, supply chain industry and printing presses. Due to this interdependence, it is highly unlikely that print media will be completely taken over by the new media.  

Even though the future of print media is uncertain, there is hope that print media can survive the wave of digitalization. Just as e-books have not been able to completely replace physical books, e-newspapers cannot shut down the publication of physical newspapers because there will always remain a segment of the population that will choose print over digital format.