“The good news: Americans believe journalism is important. The bad news: They don’t trust the journalism in their communities.” According to a WeMedia/Zogby international poll, two-thirds of Americans believe that traditional journalism is out of touch with what Americans want from their news. Whatever happened to training Fido to fetch the paper so we could read it with our morning coffee? Nowadays, we have Starbucks employees fetch our coffee and iPhones deliver our news to us.
Many may not realize it, but this is a real loss. We are constantly reminded that a number of people have been laid off by the Los Angeles Times and that print media is a dying field. Since the Internet boom, there has been a shift away from traditional news sources, such as newspapers, and toward Web-based media. This shift is most apparent in the under-30 generation: According to www.iFocos.org, 55 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds get their news from the Internet, compared to 35 percent of those 65 years and older.
One reason the younger generation is turning to the Internet and away from the printed newspaper may be that today’s youngsters are used to a fast-paced lifestyle. As a generation, we are impatient. Look at the rise of the fast-food industry, which was chronicled by documentaries like “Super-Size Me” and books like “Fast Food Nation.” Our generation is used to seeing immediate results. Before, it was an accepted fact that a successful CEO was around 40 years old; now, we have a 22-year-old CEO and billionaire in Facebook-mogul Mark Zuckerburg. So why would we wait an entire day to read the newspaper when we can go online and stay up-to-date on a breaking news story with the click of a mouse?
Reading the news online is quicker not only because stories are posted instantly, but also because we can choose what we want to read. We can customize news pages to only show us the news we want to see, thus giving us a sense of control and choice in our news. However, the goal of the news is to inform the reader of all of the angles to a story. Choosing our stories narrows our views on current news and world events.
By allowing us to choose our newsfeeds, online news not only narrows our view of the world, but also offers less information and analysis than traditional media.
The biggest advantages of online news are the unlimited space for longer stories and the variety of materials that can be added to the story, including RSS feeds, videos and links to similar stories. This is also its greatest downfall because anything can be put up on these sites, making the information unreliable.
Don’t think that print media can’t recover from the online news wave. Traditional news sources have come back from the dead once before. When television and radio first arrived, they were seen as threats to print media; however, they learned to differentiate themselves by giving us glimpses of entertaining stories and reserving extensive news pieces for print media. A synergy between the old and the new, between print media and Web-based media, needs to be established once again.
According to Andrew Nachison, co-founder of iFocos, the generational shift from print to digital media poses a challenge for traditional news companies. “They need to invest in new products and services