News Is, After All, Change

Generally speaking, there have been excessive amounts of changes and repercussions, both good and bad that have come out of the shift from physical newspapers to electronic news. I find it hard to determine which one is ultimately better or worse, so I want to walk through some of these changes, and examine them in a few different ways.

Firstly, access to information is far more vast than ever before. This makes for a far more educated population, which can only help things in possibly 99.9% of situations. Rosen states in his article the methods of keeping information from the public, namely, not exercising the use of a newspaper. Access to information has led to an increase in a want for education in people, and more knwledge of what is going on in their goverment, their country, and of course in many other areas. There are downfalls to this, obviously, as we watch countries ban the use of internet, not only to keep information about their countries from leaking out, but to keep other information from making its way in. China is a prime example of this, banning the word freedom from their searches according to The New York Times. You can read more about that here, if you’d like: http://topics.nytimes.com/topics/news/international/countriesandterritories/china/internet_censorship/index.html . Many have more access to news than ever before, but it seems important to note the downfalls of this in the form of censorship.

Despite the new excess amount of accessible information, there are a multitude of downsides. Some of these include the inability to pay for the running of physical papers, leading to job loss, and other economic induced discord within these companies. Newspaper breakdown has been so common as the internet has thrived on such a huge scale, that a website titled Newspaper Death Watch came into being. They also, however claim to watch the “Rebirth of Journalism.” I’ll touch on this later. If you want to check out that site, here’s the link: http://newspaperdeathwatch.com/ . It isn’t a scholarly site, per se, but they’ve been listed as good for journalists, and it’s sort of interesting to dig around, anyway. The fact seems to be, newspapers can either fold and go under, or go digital completely. In 2009, Time’s business and economic department spent some time exploring which ones were most in danger. The scary thing? A lot of them come out of major cities. The city life prompts internet uses versus Mom and Pop enjoying their physical newspaper? Who knows? But doesn’t that open another question? What of those who don’t use electronic sources? How will they get their news if every paper were to suddenly decide to fold. It would never happen, but it is a danger. Here’s the link for the Time article. This one had some pretty interesting stuff: http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1883785,00.html . This article by The Business Insider (Dumpala) gives some more specific numbers, such as 105 newspapers closed, and 10,000 jobs lost. There are more numbers worth looking at here: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-death-of-the-american-newspaper-2009-7?op=1. As if the economy wasn’t bad enough… the shift certainly doesn’t seem to be helping, does it?

My last large point I want to make is in regards to the use of language in journalism. There is obviously a certain way one should be writing, as addressed in the Fowler piece. However, there is definitely a different way of writing on the internet. I will first address what I’m thinking, then give a piece that I found by Robert Niles giving his view on the differences. People seem to be lazier in their writing when it is online. This is the bluntest way to put it, truthfully. I find that it doesn’t matter the medium, online writing is simply, often times, not as good as things that are printed. This is not to say everything. Some of the most briliant writers post their writings online. However, I could see rules being slipped and glided over. That said, there are other differences. As the internet begins to take over, there are websites that trump (When did google become a verb?!). Niles believes that journalism students should learn a different style of writing that caters more to the needs of more common online publications (SEO vs. AP in this article.) Here’s the final link for that: http://www.ojr.org/ojr/people/robert/201004/1843/ . Do these changes mean a decrease in quality? Depends on the change I suppose… but it does seem possible.

So it comes to a weigh out, or some sort of scale. We give up certain things– quality perhaps, jobs for writers (And of course, more writers gives more views to consider, does it not?)… but we also have access to so much more. I’m not sure, in the end, which is better… (perhaps the quantity? I’d rather a typo and know than be uninformed, I think…) quantity, or quality? And perhaps that is one of the biggest question. Perhaps it is not internet versus print, but a quality vs quantity of information battle.

 

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