ARE NEWSPAPERS ALSO AN ENDANGERED SPECIES?

It’s no secret that newspapers are in trouble in the new media age. Circulation is dropping, ad revenue is shrinking, and as a result the industry has experienced an unprecedented wave of layoffs, cutbacks, bankruptcies and even the complete shutdown of some papers. The big question now is, can newspapers survive, or are they bound to become web-only operations or disappear entirely? Will the internet hammer the last nail in the coffin of printed papers?

After all, once The New York Times admits print’s days are numbered, it’s a long, slow and excruciating downward spiral to the point that the newspaper, like the vinyl record, is a relic for collectors and anachronists.

No, newspapers still have a role to fill, and even if you’re not NASA, you can still appreciate the wisdom of having a contingency plan, just in case something goes haywire with the main internet engine. One tends to forget, newspapers serve another function ,namely continuity. Any publication here is a public record and is archived for posterity. Yes, you can access those archives on the web news too, but what happens if the parent company detracts something controversial and further the website simply vaporizes one fine day!

Newspapers can also assign professional writers to a given subject or issue and maintain coverage over an extended period, whereas freelance ‘web’-sters grow restless and tend to move to the Next Big Thing with great rapidity. Most major newspapers have correspondents specializing in covering education, crime, technology, psephology and the like. They nurture and develop “sources” and can provide in depth analysis and prognosis of various stories on a continuous basis. Newspaper journalists have a reputation and a fan following which they can’t let down unlike the frivolous internet bloggers or the dilettante web correspondent.

Nevertheless these very same Newspaper journalists’ articles can also be accessed through the e-newspaper which turns the argument upside down.

You have to make some concessions to the web as a medium. Stories, paragraphs and sentences are shorter because a screen just isn’t as readable as a paper page. And you have to make concessions to our ever-shortening attention spans, a phenomenon that predates the internet. You can also expect many more of those abstruse abbreviations , usually belonging to college campuses or the digital world like lol, asap and the works.

The good part for a net journalist is that there are fewer people looking over your shoulder, catching your misspellings, factual indiscretion and grammatical gaffes, deprecating your word choices and imposing their own style. Put pithily, there is little editorial intrusion.

We’re also all learning that some of the most important readers are not human, they’re search engines. And, if we want hits, the rough equivalent of newspaper readers, we have to include certain key words, which are often expletives. That would mean a compromise with the journalist’s story writing etiquette!

Looking at the long term future one would agree that for the classic newspapers, the outlook isn’t good. They simply do not have the same adaptability that online news does. The staff in newsrooms have shrunk by 25% in three years, and just under 27% since the beginning of the decade. This is ominous for the print media genre. If this trend were to continue, simple math can show that it would not take long before what was left of standard newspaper businesses all but evaporated.

The internet is superior to classic newspapers in terms of providing content in almost every way. For example, producing online articles does not require ink or paper, so it is more friendly to the environment. Also, server storage and website creation is fairly inexpensive in comparison to the physical components necessary to produce a standard newspaper, such as printing presses. It’s also much cheaper to display beautiful, colored pictures on a monitor than it is to print them in a newspaper.

Also, online news can be delivered almost instantly. Newspapers come out once per day; news online is being released by the minute and as stories evolve, they are updated. If there is a change in the story at the last minute, standard newspapers either need to be completely reprinted or the story needs to be saved for another day. Online, a simple edit and re-upload of the article anytime, from anywhere, can bring a story up to speed.

Even the newspaper’s one main strength, its mobility, is being challenged. Smartphones and portable computers are becoming ever more popular. Things like the Kindle, iPad, Netbooks, Smartphones, etc. can be taken almost anywhere and with a wireless internet connection, these can update the news as it arrives.

There will probably always be a niche market that simply prefers the old fashioned method, but the question is how long will the size of this niche group be large enough for someone to continue catering to. Printed type will be popular with people not accustomed to technology, as well as with people who encounter severe eye strain when staring at a screen for extended periods of time.

I think the final factor in the demise of printed type will be environmental concerns. As the world tries to become more and more environmentally friendly, habits like mass felling of trees will be reduced and eliminated whenever possible. Mother Nature would prefer we do our reading electronically, and while I do not foresee an immediate collapse of the classic newspaper, it will happen sooner or later.

Unfortunately, the argument for the environmental positives of the abandonment of print media neglects to consider the other side of the table.

Like the costs of staying online are substantial too. The attainment, refinement, transformation and disposal of the rare elements and chemicals found within the computer you are using to read this comment likely outweigh the savings in paper and emissions.

And before putting the old newspaper out on the curb for the weekly pick up, there are myriad useful things one could do with them.

On the lighter side, since Newsprint absorbs grease very well, one can use it under a paper towel to wick away oil from fried foods. You can insulate hot or cold food with crumpled or layered newsprint. One can use a stack of old newspaper for pressing flowers. The paper absorbs the moisture well. There is nothing like old newspaper to wash and dry windows as well as car windshields for a streak-free shine. Crumpled old newsprint is great for packing material besides absorb odors and will help leather shoes keep their shape. Newspaper can be composted. Just shred it and mix it in with fresh lawn clippings for fastest results. My mom uses newspaper to cover plants at night during cold snaps.

Additionally, I can use as newspaper as an umbrella when i get caught in a sudden rain. They are also usable to protect car-seats from muddy or wet clothing .They can be spread over outdoor benches to protect clothing. I see people cover store or home windows when remodeling. Families cover furniture with them when away on vacation. Can an ipad or smart phone perform even a scintilla of these tasks ?

Every established newspaper has some classic columns, which have substantial readers . Readers who can not imagine beginning their day without the read. God forbid, if the newspaper sinks in the internet tsunami, where will one read its obituary ?

Word – Watch

 

Abstruse

Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective difficult to penetrate; incomprehensible to one of ordinary understanding or knowledge

Synonyms : deep, recondite

Anachronists

Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun; people or thinking living not synchronization with time

Synonyms : misdated

Archived

Contextual Meaning(s) : Verb; tiled or stored for future reforms

Synonyms : stored, filed

  • Bankruptcies

 

Contextual Meaning(s) : noun; the state of having been legally declared bankrupt

Synonyms : insolvency, indebtedness

Catering

Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun; providing food and services

Synonyms : providing, servicing

Composted

Contextual Meaning(s) : Verb; Converted to manure

Synonyms : converted

Contingency

Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun; a possible event or occurrence or result

Other Meaning(s) : the state of being contingent on something;

Synonyms : eventuality, contingence

Demise

Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun; the time when something ends or dies

Synonyms : death, dying

Deprecating

Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; tending to diminish or disparage

Synonyms : belittling, slighting

Detracts

Contextual Meaning(s) : Verb; takes away from a desired direction; diminishes

Synonyms : misleads

Dilettante

Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; showing frivolous or superficial interest; amateurish;

Other Meaning(s) : noun an amateur who engages in an activity without serious intentions and who pretends to have knowledge

Synonyms : dabbler

Excruciating

Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; extremely painful

Synonyms : agonizing, torture-some

Expletives (Noun)

Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun; unparliamentary words or terms

Synonyms : swearword

  • Etiquette

 

Contextual Meaning(s) : noun; the rules and conventions governing correct or polite behaviour in society in general or in a specific social or professional group or situation

Synonyms : manners, decorum

Fickle

Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; marked by erratic changeableness in affections or attachments; liable to sudden unpredictable change

Synonyms : volatile, erratic, mercurial, quicksilver

Frivolous

Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; not serious in content or attitude or behavior

Synonyms : flighty

Gaffes

Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun; (plural) socially or professionaly awkward acts.

Synonyms : blunders

Genre

Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun; a category, style or class of an art form

Synonyms : category, style

 

Haywire

Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; not functioning properly;

Other Meaning(s) : informal or slang terms for mentally irregular; noun wire for tying up bales of hay

Synonyms : awry, whacky

Indiscretion

Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun a petty misdeed; the trait of being injudicious

Synonyms : peccadillo, injudiciousness

Intrusion

Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun entrance by force or without permission or welcome;

Other Meaning(s) : rock produced by an intrusive process; the forcing of molten rock into fissures or between strata of an earlier rock formation; entry to another’s property without right or permission; any entry into an area not previously occupied

Synonyms : trespass, encroachment, usurpation, invasion

Myriad

Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; too numerous to be counted; noun a large indefinite number

Synonyms : countless, infinite

Niche

Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun a position particularly well suited to the person who occupies it;

Other Meaning(s) : noun (ecology) the status of an organism within its environment and community (affecting its survival as a species); an enclosure that is set back or indented; a small concavity

Synonyms : ecological niche, recess, recession, corner

Obituary

Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun a notice of someone’s death; usually includes a short biography

Synonyms : obit, necrology

Ominous

Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective presaging ill fortune; threatening or foreshadowing evil or tragic developments

Synonyms : inauspicious, threatening

Pithily

Contextual Meaning(s) : Adverb; in a brief manner

Synonyms : sententiously

Posterity

Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun all future generations; all of the offspring of a given progenitor

Synonyms : descendants

Prognosis

Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun a prediction about how something (as the weather) will develop

Other Meaning(s) : noun a prediction of the course of a disease;

Synonyms : medical projection, forecast

Psephology

Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun the branch of sociology that studies election trends (as by opinion polls)

Synonyms : election-study

  • Predates

 

Contextual Meaning(s) : verb; to come before something else in time

Synonyms : preexist

Relic

Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun an antiquity that has survived from the distant past; something of sentimental value

Synonyms : souvenir, token

  • Remodelling

 

Contextual Meaning(s) : verb; to renovate or alter the structure or style of something such as building, room, or design

Synonyms : refurnishing, reconstruction

Scintilla

Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun a tiny or scarcely detectable amount

Other Meaning(s) : noun a sparkling glittering particles;

Synonyms : shred iota

Vaporizes

Contextual Meaning(s) : Verb; when something disappearing or vanishing

Other Meaning(s) :

Synonyms : disappears, vanishes

Wick

Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun a loosely woven cord (in a candle or oil lamp) that draws fuel by capillary action up into the flame; any piece of cord that conveys liquid by capillary action

Synonyms : taper

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