Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Future Of Newspapers

The Newspaper: A New Entry To The Endangered Species List
By Jamie Cohen

Every month there is a newer and better iPod, and the old designs are history, completely dispensable to the loyal and devoted Apple customers. We have become a society that has fastened itself to the idea that we should never get comfortable with what we have, because new technology is always right around the corner. So, with the new electric cars and phones that can give you a live broadcast of the evening news, it’s amazing that newspapers in their old fashioned way have survived this long. It is clear though, that even tradition in its ways can become obsolete.

While news itself will never be obsolete, the way we get it is changing. Newspapers are available every morning, but what happens when news breaks at noon? Sure, there is always the television, but what if there’s no television in sight, that only leaves the radio, computer and your cell phone. These are things that give you the news right now. There’s no waiting, no need to even turn pages. The push of a button gives you what you want, when you want it.

Growing up, my parents always read the newspaper. I’ve never picked one up except to throw it away. I wondered if other people’s opinions my age matched my own. Neil Scibelli is a student at Marymount Manhattan College, and says he’s up to date with news in the world today, I was curious as to how he got the news.

“I get it online.”

I followed up by asking why he doesn’t open a newspaper.

“It’s not as convenient, if I have the Internet available to me why would I go out to get a newspaper when the computer will tell me the same amount of information if not more.”

With the news being available at every touch of a button, I couldn’t help but wonder-and ask; do you think that the news will one day become documentation that is only available to those who could afford a cell phone, computer and television? Because if this is how news is becoming more and more available, then those who can’t afford to buy the computer and cell phone technically can’t afford the news.

“Well then those are the people who can go get a quarter and buy a newspaper,” Scibelli said.

But what happens when the newspapers don’t exist, or let’s say they do, but with the internet having constant updates, what happens when today’s newspapers are yesterday’s news? Other people’s opinions are in the complete opposite direction, determined if not angry at the thought of newspapers disappearing. Sandra Goodman is a math teacher and Testing Coordinator at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts; she is a loyal consumer of The Daily News. I asked her where she gets her news. “Besides from a newspaper, the T.V., the radio or computer,” she said.

I asked the same question regarding news becoming unattainable to those who can’t afford the technology that is endangering the newspapers. “No, there will always be newspapers, so they can always find the news that way. There’s also word of mouth, it’s the largest form of finding out news, and the poor…will always know the news just as much as the rich,” Goodman said.

Why do you still read the newspaper if you get your news from the radio, computer and T.V.?

“I’ve always gotten the newspaper.”

It’s an interesting answer so I explain something to her. First I ask her age, she’s 42 (P.S. never ask a woman her age), I ask her how long she has been a consumer of The Daily News. At least 20 years. I tell her that that is 1,040 weeks and every week she spends four dollars on the newspaper (that includes the Sunday charge of one dollar). When I tell her that she could have a little over four thousand dollars within those 20 years, she makes no response, I get a smirk from her when I tell her that if you have access to the Internet, the news is free.

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