How did the internet affect the popularity of newspapers

Posted: December 2nd, 2013

Table of Contents

Introduction                      2

Declining Rates of the Print Newspapers           3

Effect of the Internet on News             3

Benefits of using the Internet           5

Effect of using the Internet on Print Newspapers          8

Hope for Print Newspapers              9

Newspapers Adapting to Technology                13

Conclusion                      15















Mohamed Elamin




How did the internet affect the popularity of newspapers?


With the advent of internet, people have started to have more faith on the internet and consider it as a reliable and authentic source of information. The print media, a long known conventional source of news, articles, and advertisements has taken a back seat and is currently treated as an inferior form of news information. This seemingly overnight shift has its own negative bearings on the growth of print media. One of the major advantages of the internet is that it can be updated every now and then while newspapers or periodicals have their own schedule of publication, like daily, fortnightly etc. However, there are people who still prefer newspapers for a variety of reasons. This paper will highlight and discuss the stronghold established by the internet over print media, particularly newspapers. Precisely, the college going students and youngsters are in the grip of online-related matters. They use different internet sources extensively to update themselves and to have an edge over others, because of the quick access to information. In a world of competition, lagging behind is considered to be primitive. Hence, every one makes the effort of catching up with the latest news. Young people are the forerunners because of their extensive use of internet related gadgets. The issue of the increased use of the internet raises several questions that can include its effect on our education and society, whether it is the best possible option, and whether newspapers and other forms of print media will survive in a period where the internet rules the world. These questions and more will be discussed throughout this extended essay.

Declining Rates of the Print Newspapers

The print media, which was once considered the only way of obtaining information and viewing advertisements, maintains a long history of success and popularity in the entire world. In 1940, 31% of Americans used to buy daily newspapers. Over the years, this number has decreased significantly despite the increase in population. By 2009, only 13% of Americans bought daily newspapers (Ahrens, 8). Major American newspapers have realized a decline in readership and circulation, and a subsequent decrease in profits. The San Francisco Chronicle lost 26% of its daily subscribers. The Dallas Morning News and Newark Star each lost 22% of their daily readers, the Los Angeles Times lost 11% of its daily readers, The New York Times lost 7% of its daily subscriptions, and the Washington Post lost 6% of its subscription. The newspapers experienced major losses in revenue as all the lost daily subscriptions were from paying customers (Ahrens 12).

Effect of the Internet on News

The internet has affected journalism in general, and not just the print media. It has affected the way news is gathered and disseminated. It has changed people’s perception of news. The internet has exposed people to diverse news items. Previously, the government and the news editors were instrumental in determining the kind of news to deliver to consumers (Krotoski 4). They could filter some news, which they felt were not relevant for consumers to know. This limited information available to consumers, and the consumers could only get one view of the story. The internet has changed all this, and it has enabled people to get the news they want at the time they want. The government has minimal control on news dissemination, although this is only in democratic nations, which enhance and promote freedom of expression. In some countries such as China, the government can control the content of the internet, and it persecutes those who defy its laws. It limits the information that people choose to post on the web.

The internet has changed the way reporters deliver news to the people. People do not have to wait for newspapers to be published long after the events have occurred, but they get the news as it happens. The increased development of internet usage has been advanced by the presence of many technological gadgets through which users can access the internet. Forty seven percent of American adults report using the internet on their cell phones or tablets to get local or international news (Choney 4). The internet has also affected visual media, especially television, managing to take away and capture the attention of some of the viewers. This is especially in matters relating to news. In fact, Yandex, the most visited site in Russia, finds amazingly more users than the country’s most popular TV channel, according to the Moscow times. As per the survey details available by last April, Yandex, had 19.1 million visitors where as Channel One, the state channel, which is also the country’s most popular channel, had about 18.2 million viewers.

There are several obvious benefits of using the internet. Many people are drawn towards using social media. They use the social media to interact and communicate with each other and form friends. They also use the web to play different games. This can have positive effects on individuals. Some of the games are stimulating and challenging, leading one to think and reason critically before making decisions. Others have enabled non-English users to have basic knowledge of the English language. The use of social media has had positive effects on individuals, and even on companies, which are looking for marketing opportunities. However, there are several disadvantages of using the social media tools, especially as forms of communication. These sites can have a detrimental effect in the way individuals interact and form relationships. People who are used to communicating too frequently on social networking sites find that they are at a loss of what to do, when they encounter each other physically. They have difficulties bonding and forming relationships when they meet (Theahkone). This can negative effects on journalism, which requires interaction when gathering news. Reporters work in diverse fields, and they encounter different people. They have to have the right communication skills, and know how to form relationships so that they can get the stories that they want.

Benefits of using the Internet

These days, people turn to internet news sites, blogs and cable televisions for the latest news updates. These sources of visual media stay with the news unlike the newspapers that would give some coverage and wait for the next issue to be released. Moreover, the latest technological gadgets such as laptops, smart phones, iPods, tablets, and iPads are making the internet easily accessible almost everywhere. These gadgets are portable and easy to carry. Most of them are easy to use and navigate. Some of them provide mobile applications, which enable users to view the news content online. The phenomenal growth of the internet, which has overshadowed the print media, has been witnessed over the last one decade. Before the widespread use of the internet, most people preferred other means of communication and newsgathering. Only a few people, most of whom had the technical know how chose to use the internet. One would have been hard pressed to find people in front of their computer screens using the internet for any purpose (Kinsley 2). The situation has changed as there has been an increased interest in internet usage. This has led to the increased methods that people can use to access the internet.

It has become increasingly rare to find individuals reading newspapers, especially among the younger generation. Moreover, many people find that the internet offers more interesting content than newspapers do, leading to more people surfing the internet. Blogs are an added benefit, and they increase the consumers’ use of the internet. They offer in depth analysis of different of issues in different sectors, which are covered by the news. Some of the bloggers are professionals in their fields, and this makes their analysis useful and necessary. Over the years, some newspapers have depended on official news cables like Reuters and others for authorized news reports. This has made some of the consumers feel that the newspapers are not genuine in their claims for searching for worthy news content, and delivering it to the masses. The internet is a cheap source of news, and people do not have to pay anything so that they can read the news over the internet. This is a further blow to the print media, which relies on newspaper sales to cover their expenses.

People like the anonymity provided by the internet. They feel empowered by the fact that they can express their opinions freely, without fear of ridicule, or without worrying about the consequences. The internet is largely free from accountability. Consumers perceive that if someone is offended by the contents on one site, then they can move to another site. Readers who share the same sentiments and values are likely to use a site. This has increased the level of freedom of expression among the people. Many people use the internet to provide feedback on the articles they have read. They can communicate to the authors using different social media such as Facebook and twitter, and they can recommend the article to other people using different online means. The feedback is immediate. Although people could communicate and send their sentiments through newspapers, they did not have the advantage of seeing their comments the same day. Some people had to wait for the next publication so that they could air their opinions, which was often on a weekly basis. By being able to communicate freely, the people feel that they have more voice on issues. They feel that their opinion matters and they feel that they are part of a larger community.
Disadvantages of the Print Newspapers and Reasons for declining Use

Consumers using the print newspapers scan every column of the paper for classifieds and other ad commercials. In some cases, they have to view ads, which they were not interested in as they looked for the specific item that they were searching. Print newspapers have limited space, and they have to find ways of printing every advert, and every news item on the number of pages available. They cram the classified section, and they only offer limited information. This does not give the reader enough information to work with, and does not necessarily help the user to find the right item. The process of locating the exact advertisement in newspapers can be time consuming. In recent times, there has been increased use of the internet, which has offered several advantages and benefits over newspapers.

The internet offers a variety of online products, giving one an opportunity to view multiple ads. To put it concisely, shopping is just a click away. Tele marketing and its attractive offers, entice the buyers. Hence, these products are consumer responsive which tend to keep a pool of reliable consumers. Consumers have the advantage of finding the exact thing that they are interested in, and comparing other similar items. However, from the point of view of reliability, tangibility and consumer risk, both internet and print media have not been spared. The credibility of online shopping is not encouraged as the users overtly feel and experience bogus advertisements that are pitched to swindle the money off the buyers. Many of the shopping portals that ask for the details of credit cards and personal information tend to do harm beyond recovery.

People who promote products prefer television, radio or internet rather than print media like newspapers and magazines to maximize the effectiveness of their marketing communications. Many people have opted to use print media for centuries to enhance reinforcement strategy. A periodical, whether recent or old, will continue to influence the mind of the readers. Distribution, size and audience are the major factors to be taken into account while going for advertising in the periodicals.

Effect of using the Internet on Print Newspapers

The increased growth of the internet has threatened old newspaper and television industries. However, some major newspaper publications have managed to hold on and remain in business because of the increasing demand for news. Many media houses continue to experience the negative effect of the internet. They have resulted to massive layoffs and buyouts, which has further affected the print media industry. Those who support using the internet believe that people have the right to receive information. Therefore, they provide their information freely to the consumers (Video 1). This has affected print newspapers, which largely depend on their sales to get revenue. Since people can receive information freely, they do not see the need of spending any money to get the same information on the internet.

Newspapers continue reporting decreased readership. Research carried out some time ago revealed the effect of this. According to the research, daily newspapers lost 1.2 million readers in six months, in the period ending March of this year. On the other hand, online newspapers experienced substantial growth over the same period, and the people viewing the online sites grew to 56 million. This was a substantial growth, considering that the future of online newspapers looked bleak a decade ago. Problems facing newspapers grew further, as they began experiencing losses from advertisers. This led to the loss of advertisement revenue. Many advertisers prefer to use the internet, which takes advantage of advanced technology in creating attractive graphics and providing more information, something that the print media has not managed to capture. In addition, many users find it easy to navigate the web, as they are able to use search engines to locate the specific item they are searching. Locating adverts in newspapers can be a time consuming process. users has to look at different advertisements, which they are not interested in before locating what they are looking for, and this takes a lot of time.

Many newspaper houses identified ways of ensuring that they increased circulation, and they used to deliver their newspapers to customers. Nowadays, newspaper companies have been forced to do away with such measures in an aim of cutting costs. They no longer deliver newspapers to their customers, and they are able to reduce fuel and labor costs. In addition, newspapers continue facing increased production costs, as the publishers have increased their prices. These measures have contributed to increased costs of publication. Many newspapers face the dilemma of increasing costs so that they can manage to cover the production costs, and facing decreased subscriptions. Some print newspapers offer their newspapers freely in some areas, as a strategy to increase awareness. They hope that they will increase their customers; once more people become aware of the content of their newspapers.

Hope for Print Newspapers

            The growth of the internet may be affecting the print media in most developed countries, but the situation is different in the developing countries. Although many developing countries have internet, people in these countries do not use the internet as much, and they continue relying on newspapers and other forms of print media as news and entertainment sources. Internet penetration in many developing countries is hampered by lack of infrastructure, which has made penetration difficult. Media houses in these countries continue reporting profits and employing people. However, some of them have realized the importance of using the internet, and they have developed online versions of their newspapers. Moreover, newspapers in developing countries have improved their strategy and this has ensured continued growth. They have become niche, providing more titles, and serving smaller communities. Thus, one newspaper will have different segments intended for a select audience such as the youth, men, women, sport lovers, and environmentalists among other segments. These newspaper segments may have a smaller audience, but they ensure guaranteed readership, and this ensures further circulation of the newspapers (Sikiti). In the US, the smaller daily newspapers, concentrated in a specific region continue to gain readership from more people. This is because they concentrate on local affairs, most of which does not interest major news publications. People are interested in finding out what is happening in their communities, and the local dailies give them such information. These newspapers also attract adverts from advertisers in the specific region, and this increases their revenue (Ahrens 9)
            There is no doubt that the internet has influenced print media, causing to experience stagnation in growth, and in some cases, decline and closure. However, there are people who continue to believe that newspapers are the best option. Newspapers help people to stay informed and keep up with the current events. People believe in the credibility of newspapers, and do not trust the content delivered on the internet, unless it is from a recognized online version of a known newspaper publication. Newspapers are credible sources, which can even be quoted for academic purposes. One disadvantage of the internet is that it makes anyone a publisher or journalist. Anyone who can write can contribute to the content of an article. The person’s qualifications and interest do not necessarily matter. On the other hand, major newspapers take the initiative of checking the qualifications of their writers. They do not just hire anybody, but they hire people who have attained higher education, and who have the necessary skills and talents. They are also bound by the law, and they cannot just print anything without substantial evidence. These limitations are beneficial since they add to the credibility of the news. Readers are guaranteed that the events that they read about happened, and there are no speculations on the issue.
            Newspapers are a legitimate source of news, which contain analysis and opinions from educated minds. They inform people concerning different political issues, and this helps the readers in forming political ideologies (Csnorthwest). With the internet, one is never sure of the people who have contributed towards writing the article. Therefore, a person cannot take this as a source of legitimate news. Moreover, readers of online content are easily distracted from other information on the internet. Some of these destructions do not allow the reader to read an article or a piece of news item in its entirety. On the other hand, once a reader locates information in a print newspaper, he or she reads the entire message, because there are no destructions. It becomes hard to put the newspaper down without finishing reading the articles. This enables the readers to absorb the contents of the newspapers fully, and it enhances knowledge and decision-making, based on the information received. Newspapers offer high quality and up to standard information. They offer information that is not biased (Csnorthwest). Many newspapers are interested in maintaining their reputation, and because of this, they are willing to offer balanced news coverage. These sentiments have maintained newspaper readership over the years.
            People’s age and gender can determine whether they prefer to get their news from online sources or whether they prefer the internet. People in their senior years may not be conversant with how the internet works. They may not know the sites to visit to look for credible news, and they may not even be aware of how the internet works. Such people prefer using the print media. They prefer the idea of buying newspapers and reading the contents, just like they have done for a long time. They have their favorite sections, and their favorite writers, and they would not want to give this up for the internet. Some people like reading newspapers and magazines, especially when they are traveling. They like the idea of browsing through the pages, and reading different segments. Some readers like reading the paper when they are on their coffee breaks. Someone who works on the computer all morning finds the need to take a break from work, and he or she reads the newspaper in print version. Some people simply like the idea of carrying and folding the newspaper.
            Although online sources are widespread, this does not translate to higher profits. Many online sites depend on advertisements for their revenues. They charge advertisers according to the number of hits they get (Scherer 2). The more the users click on an advert, the better it is for the online sites, since this translates into increased revenues. Therefore, online sites use different measures to entice customers to their sites, and to encourage them to click on the adverts. They use eye-catching headlines, which are aimed at persuading those who visit the sites to read the stories. The headlines may be exaggerated, or the writers of these articles may use provocative language for this effect (Scherer 3-6). Unfortunately, the revenue received from revenues is not sufficient, and it does not amount to much. This is because the online revenue does not necessarily go to news sources but it goes to other sites such as Google and Yahoo (Choney 3).
            Consumers want news but they also want entertainment. They want to hear the opinion of others, who might have similar or diverse opinions. On the other hand, print media, although it has realized a decrease in advertisement rates, continue to reap from substantial revenue. Print media receives more in revenue compared to online sources. The impact of internet on the media has affected the kinds of stories highlighted in different forms of the media. When searching for stories, some reporters have sourced for ideas from the internet. They have taken the reports they see on these sources as the truth, although this is not always the case. Some people who paste information on these sites might only be interested in spreading rumors or propaganda. Some media houses have gotten in trouble for reporting events they saw highlighted on the internet, without having determined whether these events are true (Krotoski 10)

Newspapers Adapting to Technology

            Print media may have experienced some losses because of the internet, but this does not mean that they have to cease their publications. Newspapers do not have to see the internet as a threat to their continuity. What they should do is to find ways of using the internet to their advantage. They have to cease seeing print newspapers as the only way through which they can deliver news content, and look for other ways of informing the public (Gimenez). They have to adapt to let go of the past way of doing things, and they should not be afraid of adapting to the changes. This means identifying the opportunities that the internet provides, and utilizing them to their advantage (Jarvis 1). Most major print newspapers have converted to online versions. Consumers can access the internet, and they can read such newspapers online. These online versions receive ads from different companies. However, revenues from online adverts do not count much, and the newspapers have to identify other means of increasing their revenues.
            Newspapers offer subscriptions to the consumers, meaning that the consumers have to pay to view some of the contents in the publications. The subscriptions are flexible, and they can be on a daily, weekly, monthly, or annual basis. Some publications encourage membership. The members join the company and pay an identified sum, and this gives them access to the newspaper publications. Those who choose not to join or to subscribe view limited contents of the newspapers. Despite this, many people do not want to pay for the news they receive on the internet. Currently, only 5% of American adults pay to receive news on the internet. Most users report that they would not pay anything to receive the news. Only 23% of users would bother to pay for online content if they were to dig deeper in their pockets. This percentage would be willing to pay $5 dollars a month. The percentage of people who would consider paying 10% monthly so that they can receive online content is 18% (Choney 5). Most newspapers choose to offer their content free, and they depend on revenues.
            The issue of the internet and its ability to make anyone a publisher or a journalist has affected people in different sectors. It has encouraged citizen journalism, where one does not necessarily have the credentials for him or her to write articles. This has had a negative impact on journalism, since people can no longer trust the news content on the media. On the other hand, qualified journalists who have embraced the use of technology have been encouraged to speak up against the practice of citizen journalism. People should not depend on information from citizen journalists since they are not qualified (Krotoski 11). Most of those who claim to be citizen journalists get their content from print newspapers, and they put it on the internet, where readers who find it easier to use the internet can locate the information quickly. They gain for content they have not looked for (Kinsley 2). This has compelled journalists working in different major newspapers to write blogs, where they not only deliver their opinion and report on different issues, but they direct their readers to their newspaper publication. In this way, they enhance and ensure the continuity of the field of journalism in the right manner. The presence of online newspapers will not displace print newspapers in their entirety, just as the invention of radio or television did not replace the newspapers (Salman et al. 2).


The internet has had a major impact on the popularity of newspapers. It has decreased revenues from sales and adverts due to decreased circulation. It has led to unemployment of many qualified journalists, who previously worked in major newspapers. It has led to the increase of citizen journalists, most of whom are not qualified to write newspaper articles. It has led to the increase of blogs, some of which are written by professionals. The internet has compelled newspapers to have online versions of their print editions. Despite this, print newspapers continue to have widespread support in different sectors. This is especially the case among the older generation who do not have the technological knowledge of using the internet, and among people in the developing regions where there is low internet penetration.














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