The number of Americans who say they read print newspapers continues to fall. Over the past decade, the number of print readers has fallen 18 points and now stands at only 23%. As technology is advancing, more readers are shifting to a digital platform to view their news. Many of the leading print viewers, such as those who read New York Times, prefer to read the paper on a mobile device (“Number of Americans, 2012). Since 2000, newspaper readership has gone down 40%, most of which came after 2008. This decrease is leaving newsrooms with fewer writers.
Because newspapers and newsrooms are slowing dissolving, many have said that journalism is in crisis. Personally, I do not think journalism is in crisis, but merely evolving to catch up with our generation. Just because newspapers are becoming less popular does not mean that news is any less important to today’s society. There has been a shift from print to online. New technology has dissolved the old system for news and created a new system. When changing from print to online, journalism has encountered many issues that have shaped the news today. Journalism has faced issues such as appealing to the viewers, ethical predicaments, and gaining the trust and respect of the audience.
Today, news media has changed to fit our needs. An issue that journalism has faced was figuring out a way to appeal to the masses. Journalism changed from print to online as a way to appeal to our technology-driven society. With newspapers, people were able to read about an issue or event whenever a new copy of the paper was printed. Now, we have access to the news whenever we want it. The news has changed to become more convenient to the viewer. On television, there is a variety of news channels. These channels work to update our society about the news constantly throughout the day; this makes sure that they are fitting into the viewer’s schedule. Also, because there are a variety of news channels, news appeals to a larger audience. Although journalists are supposed to be unbiased, it is impossible to create anything that is not biased. In BBC News’s “What is the point of ‘the news’”, Alain de Botton says that news is the most powerful source on how we view economic and political things because it tells us what to think about. Some news sources are liberal while others are conservative. For example, many viewers believe that CNN has a liberal bias while FOX has a conservative bias. This diversity helps the news appeal to everyone.
An article on an online news source, The Guardian, states, “The web is the greatest tool in the history of the world.” With the help of the Internet, news is spread quicker and more easily than ever, which allows for society to be informed about important issues sooner. Once an article is posted online, people are able to share it on their social media with other people. Because our society relies so heavily on the Internet, we are more likely to see it if the article is online rather than in print. Using social media, people are able to talk about the news as a group; they are able to give their opinions and thoughts on the subject. In Tom Rosenstiel’s speech, “The Future of Journalism”, he talks about how the audience is able to become the teacher through the use of social media.
Another issue that journalism has faced is how to deal with ethical predicaments. News media is divided into two aspects: corporate ownership and content producers. The job of the corporate owners is business; they try to get the most profit possible. The content producers are the journalists. A journalist’s goal is to share truth and inform the public. Journalism is about doing what is right and good, not about profit. In order to complete their job, a journalist must be objective and follow a code of ethics. We live in a profit society; everything we do is for profit and about profit. The business side of news media will do anything to make a profit. This desire for profit can put the journalists in an undesirable position as they are made to feel like they must compromise their principles. Andrew Jaspan gives us an example of this in his speech about a new way to do journalism. In London, multiple journalists for The Sun, were arrested under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906. This scandal was occurred when a few of the journalists hacked into one of the Prince’s assistant’s phone messages as a way to dig up more information.
After this scandal, the news faced a major issue; viewers found it hard to trust and respect the news. David Bornstein talks about solutions for journalism. He says that trust is the most important quality that an institution can have. Society needs to trust and we need to be able to know that we can trust each other. One way to start building back is to stop pointing out negativity, because negativity is eroding trust. Andrew Jaspan came up with an idea to bring back trust in journalists. He began by asking the question, “Why would you buy it if you cannot trust it?” He knew he needed a diversity of views and people who could be trusted. Jaspan had an idea to put journalists and academics together. Journalist tends to focus on bad news, or issues and problem, while academics seek solutions. He said that only those who really know a subject could write on it. Jaspan also regained reader’s trust by allowing readers to comment and get involved.
The 21st century values in journalism are transparency, authentication, pluralism, democratizing knowledge, and building trust with readers. After overcoming issues of audience appeal, ethics, and reader’s trust, these values are held highly with great importance. Technology has provided new tools to make journalism better. Although newspapers are disappearing, journalism is still very much alive.
Campbell, Richard, Christopher R. Martin, and Bettina Fabos. Media & Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2015. Print.
Number of Americans Who Read Print Newspapers Continues Decline. (2012, October 11). Retrieved February 21, 2016, from http://www.pewresearch.org/daily-number/number-of-americans-who-read-print-newspapers-continues-decline/