Journalism Industry Changes As Digital Media Dominates

Traditional Journalism Gradually Fades into the Past as More News Moves to Online Outlets

Over the past several years, the journalism industry has seen many changes and these changes are proving to be large contribut­ing factors to the gradual decline of traditional journalism.

The most evident change in journalism has been the dras­tic transition to digital media as technology gradually immerses itself into every aspect of our everyday lives. In recent years, more and more news outlets have made an effort to reach out to wider audiences through the use of technology.

“The big change in all news media has been the migration of content to digital distribution,” said Dr. Eleanor Novek, journal­ism professor.

Societal changes and the need for quicker news have also con­tributed to the changes in the in­dustry. As more audiences turn their attention to digital outlets for news, traditional news outlets, particularly newspapers, have suffered. In this day and age, newspapers are no longer timely.

With the use of technology as a source of news, audiences are able to have their information at their disposal at any time of the day with the click of a few but­tons, proving to be a desirable method of obtaining news. Peo­ple today do not want to take the time to buy a newspaper and flip through pages of long articles in order to extract information about news which has already occurred.

“I think journalism is rapidly establishing itself online, as it has become the first place readers go for news,” said Daniel Gun­derman, Editor-in-Chief of The Verge. “In terms of hard news, I see print journalism becom­ing obsolete. There will be no need to flip through a tabloid or broadsheet to see what happened 24 hours earlier when we already received alerts about it on our phones.”

With the aid of cell phone ap­plications for nearly every news outlet in the market, audiences can filter the news they read based upon a variety of factors ranging from interest and political affili­ation to geographic location and time period.

“As cell phone apps, tablets, and mainstream websites have taken hold, they’ve gradually made hard news in print more obsolete,” Gunderman said. “But that doesn’t mean that print is dead; it just needs to adapt, just as it did after the invention of the telegraph.”

It is also no secret that people today have short attention spans. We only want to focus on one specific thing for a small period of time before we move on to the next. With digital media we are able to skim through articles, eas­ily flip from one page to another and conduct key word searches for the specific topic we are look­ing for. People no longer take the time to read every article they come across word for word, and social networking outlets, Twit­ter in particular, has further con­vinced the news media that the attention spans of their audiences are only getting shorter from one generation to the next.

Unfortunately, a lack of inter­est in news and the world around us is partly to blame for changes in journalism and the decrease of traditional news audiences.

“Today’s generation is not po­litical, and news is about politics and decision making,” said Dr. Marina Vujnovic, journalism pro­fessor and faculty advisor to The Verge.

Today’s audiences prefer to receive their news in a way that moves further and further from tradition, and the media is partly to blame for its sensationalizing of news. The media influences our perception of news more and more each day with its attempt to make everything fun and enter­tainment worthy.

For example, “The Today Show,” which previously covered more important, newsworthy sto­ries in the past, has seen itself lower its standards to those of other day time talk shows with its increasing coverage of fluff pieces including celebrity news and pop culture. Although there is nothing wrong with shows such as “The Colbert Report” and tele­vision personalities such as Jon Stewart, these sources of media are influencing audiences and the way they think and choose to re­ceive their news.

“The way the TV media deliv­ers news may be part of the prob­lem,” said Novek. “The U.S. me­dia have definitely compromised themselves with so much focus on celebrity gossip and hearsay. While some high quality news media do exist, the trend seems to be ‘dumbing down’ and trivi­alization.”

With a changing society and increasingly technological times, the minds of today’s students are beginning to move toward a per­ception of tradition news as ar­chaic.

“My students think reading current events is boring,” said Vujnovic. “Everything has to be fun; news has to be fun; profes­sors have to be fun.”

“Media is to blame for the new structure for learning,” Vujnovic added. “Students don’t like to read because it requires attention. New media teaches us to skim and scan.”

As the industry changes, those working in the industry, as well as students, must also adjust to tran­sitioning times. Presently, it is not enough for students and inspiring journalists to simply have their articles published in print. They must also familiarize themselves with the new world of journalism which now includes reaching out to a broader spectrum of readers via technological methods. To­day’s journalism students need digital skills in addition to strong reporting and writing skills.

“With a slimming job market, only the strong survive, so only the students who shine above all else will be afforded a job in a newsroom,” said Gunderman. “As newsrooms lay off staff writ­ers left and right, it seems there is no relief in the near future. How­ever, the only thing I can foresee is newspapers shifting their lay­outs to accommodate the adaptive needs of the people. Soon, staff writers will be doing news stories solely online and print publica­tions will only be places to go in order to delve into a subject and get more of the ‘nitty-gritty.’”

Although the changes in the world of journalism are not favor­able to some, particularly those who prefer traditional news, it is important to note that the change in journalism is a representation of changing times. We now live in a world where people put a signif­icant value on speed and conve­nience. We want things now and we want it done quickly, and the use of digital media has proven to be an effective method to provide the public with a more preferable way to receive their news.