Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Future Of Newspapers

Newspapers Are Struggling With Generational Changes
By Priya Joshi

Americans embraced the vast technological improvements that were shaping the future of our nation at the turn of the 20th Century. This industrial revolution sparked a century of growth and prosperity. But today, has technology begun to make people less in touch with their society rather than more informed?

The newspaper industry was the main source of information for millions of people for decades. These days, with the invention of television and Internet, it seems as though newspapers are becoming obsolete. Nineteen-year-old college student Elizabeth Monahan agrees. “It’s not that I am uninterested in current affairs, it’s just that it’s easier to watch the news rather than to read about it. I still stay well informed, I just do it differently than people who choose to buy the New York Times,” she said.

Monahan, having grown up with television and the Internet finds it natural that she rarely buys a newspaper. “I can either buy a paper, or hit a switch and have the news right in front of me. I don’t think it’s a terrible thing that newspapers are suffering due to television and the Internet. A new generation has been born and changes come around often. The world is constantly making progress and people need to deal with that,” she said.

Like Monahan, older generations also stick with what they know. “The news on television tends to be biased and often one sided”, says Linette Joshi, a 52-year-old mother of two. “I prefer the news paper because I feel as though I can rely on the stories to be factual. There have been so many controversies over news stations lying and presenting false facts to viewers. I don’t want to take that risk of being severely misinformed.”

Having two children of her own, Joshi disagrees with Monahan’s reasoning for not buying newspapers. Her view is a bit more cynical. "I feel as though the current generation of young adults have adapted a sense of apathy about global affairs. There’s a huge war going on and I think a lot of kids feel helpless. They’ve given up on being heard so reading or watching the news at all seems pointless,” says Joshi. “My kids would rather watch their favorite television show and laugh than sit down and watch what’s going on in Iraq. It’s a little disheartening, but I can’t blame them. They didn’t ask to grow up in a society of machines and warfare and violence. They want to feel young for as long as they can because they know the world is turning upside down.”

But what could the possible consequences be for a generation void of reading newspapers? “Many adults think that by not getting the news from newspapers my generation will become less literate,” says Monahan. “I disagree. Just because we aren’t reading the newspaper doesn’t mean that we aren’t still reading books or poetry or magazines.”

Would Monahan’s generation become less intelligent from not reading a newspaper every once in a while? I would say perhaps not. However, the issue of a generation becoming uninformed about the world they live in seems more plausible. Whether it is a case of convenience or apathy, the newspaper business is likely to greatly suffer if the current generation does not keep it alive.

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