Keeping up with the Times

By TYLER DALE

Opinions Editor

It’s often said, especially in reference to newspapers, that print is dying. Technology is advancing at a rapid pace and most newspapers are having a hard time staying ahead of the curve, and their readership is beginning to sink because of it. 

With most big players in the industry switching to an online format, it’s commonly believed that the reason behind this decline is simply that modern readers prefer a digital format. 

While this may be partially true, books and magazines, despite also having their own digital doppelgangers, are still alive and well in their traditional print format. 

Newspapers have survived both television and the radio, so they should be accustomed to battling different formats from their own. 

I believe that the newspaper industry is suffering because of an almost universal resistance to the changes in their modern audience as a result of technological advances.

Modern technology has created a vastly different culture than the one that grew up reading the ‘funnies’ in the Sunday Times. The Internet, smartphones and every piece of technology like them have revolutionized the way we do… well… everything. 

Technology has created an incredibly fast-paced world, and my generation and every generation following it are highly accustomed to the rapid influx of media that we’re exposed to on a daily basis. 

We decide within seconds of seeing something whether or not we’re going to use our valuable time on it, “instant gratification” some may call it. 

Because of the fast paced world we are now in, people become a little more impatient, especially when it comes to the news. 

In a world where Twitter exists, people can get all of the facts they want in 140 characters or less. 

Of course, one tweet won’t give someone all of the details of a news story, but if they keep scrolling they may see 15 more tweets. 

Suddenly we’re at 2,240 characters, almost the length of a Navigator story. 

And then one of those tweets may have a link to an in-depth report, and if they are interested enough, they’ll click it. 

And just like that, they got their fill of hard-hitting journalism all the while doing 15 other things. 

My point is, in the modern world, it’s not enough to have a catchy headline followed by 500 words or so. 

People want variety. Something quick; something different.

 Newspapers need to realize that sometimes people don’t want articles and only articles. Sometimes people just want a tweet or a clever political cartoon or a list. 

And once you’ve gotten their attention, maybe they’ll read your long articles. 

There will always be a market for well-written articles about relevant subjects, but if newspapers stubbornly insist on clinging to traditional formats they will be forgotten. 

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a traditional article with paragraphs upon paragraphs, but if that’s all you have to offer, it’s going to get stale. Fast. 

Unless newspapers start thinking outside the box and embrace creativity, then people will just turn to websites like Twitter or Buzzfeed for their news, because they’ve found creative, simple ways to appeal to their audience without sacrificing their journalistic integrity for it. 

So kudos to them, and here’s hoping newspapers will get with the program.