Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Video Killed the Newspaper Star

After reading the article “Will Newspapers Survive?” published by the Boston Globe I came to wonder the exact same thing.

After working in the newspaper world for 20 years Jeff Jacoby, writer for the Boston Gobe, noted that:

One of the first things I learned in this business was how eager some people are to express their disdain for it.

Today’s press critics aren’t saying anything that hasn’t already been said before because newspapers have always drawn fire, but they have also always drawn readers. Now, increasingly, they don’t. In years past everyone grew up in homes where newspapers were read everyday, but that is no longer the norm:

The percentage of Americans who read a paper every day has fallen from around 70 percent in 1972 to 35 percent today...newspaper circulation has been dropping for 20 years. What’s worse, the rate of decline seems to be speeding up.

So, who killed the newspaper? The conventional answer is that the Internet is the culprit. Readers by the millions have migrated to the Web, where news and information are supplied for free right at their fingertips. But is the rise of the Internet really the cause of the decline in newspapers? Jacoby says that when he started in the news industry 20 years ago readership was already on the slide and the absence of newspaper habits among young readers was already prompting concern. So if the Internet isn’t the cause, what is?

“I nominate not the computer screen, but the TV screen,” says Jacoby. It’s the rise of television and a generation raised on TV mindlessness that is creating a generation less equipped to read a newspaper.

I have to agree with Jacoby that it isn’t the Internets fault for the decline of newspapers, but the laziness created in the wake of television. Too many kids are raise on TV or “babysat” by TV, which creates a type of mindless zombie that goes throughout life not wanting to think for them self. It’s a lot let work at the end of the day to come home and tune into the TV, forgetting about everything else, then it is to pick up a newspaper and actually do more work in readers, digesting and understanding its content.

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