Will newspapers disappear?
In the last ten or twenty years access to knowledge has utterly changed. Access to information is just a push on a button away. Kids and youngsters hardly read books and the latest news is available in just 140 characters. Will people in a short while only focus on short online messages, and type their messages about events happening to friends as well as to absolute strangers? Will people lose interest for newspapers, and will newspapers have to change their focus to come along in these rapid changing times? For a lot of people newspapers are still their main source of information. They give news items, but also function as an opinion pointer. Journalists write background information articles, columns and hereby play a key role in shaping public opinion. Internet users work at the computers at the public library in Philadelphia. (© AP Images)
People are educated and trained in their own field of profession, so when they read about other topics they can often use some guiding in an ever more complex world. They may take an interest in many things, but can’t go through all the lingo they find on the internet. This is why we need journalists, specialized in many fields, to guide us through the world. But is this really true? Demographic studies show that people under thirty do not read traditional print newspapers. The younger generation now gets its news largely from the internet. However, the NRC Next, a tabloid-size offspring of NRC Handelsblad, is a success in the segments of students and young professionals. Paul Gillin, a Massachusetts-based writer and media consultant specialized in information technology topics, says he expects the survival of only four or five major newspapers. He foresees an “explosion” in what he calls small journalism, involving free community newspapers that can be read for a 25-30 minute commute to work. According to him the trend is typified by a company called Metro International, which...
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