Will newspapers still be called newspapers if they cease to print on papers? Or will it simply be the online news site?
It’s kind of absurd in Nepali context to think that newspapers is facing big challenge from online web sites – especially at the time when the newspapers are actually growing. But unlike many other technologies, web technology impacts very quickly and it’s not completely worthless to predict that in a decade or so, newspaper would become a rarity!
Wait… the newspaper here means the newspapers printed on the pulp paper and thrown to our door early morning or bought from stalls.
The hardware that is making news these days is e-reader. Beginning from Amazon’s Kindle to Barnes & Noble’s Nook to Sony’s readers to announced-but-not-available Skiff to just announced Apple’s iPad, e-readers are hot products.
With hot products come predictions. For many technology writers, e-readers are future of newspapers. Here is a new one in the line: Can the Apple iPad save newspapers? By Mercedes Bunz in the Guardian’s The Digital Content Blog. The concluding line of the writing is: If Steve Jobs would save journalism, it might be possible that publishers would get him the Holy Grail. And, there are many such blogs, and articles in the same line.
What I am wondering at is that will newspapers be still called newspapers if they are not available on paper and only available in e-readers. And, most important question is: is online killing journalism? Or does death of newspapers mean death of newspapers?
For me, newspaper will not be newspapers if they are not on papers. They will simply be online news site – regardless of what design they have or in which devices they are available. The media industry (for now, the newspaper industry) can neither remain constraint with once-a-day update in the growing threat from pure online news portals nor they can avoid multimedia even if their products are only available in e-readers.
If that happens, the line between online news portals and used-to-be-printed-on-paper online news will be blurred and omitted.
E-readers can off course save the media industry who can simply close-down printing presses (and replace by a team of web designers and programmers) in the fight of survival with the online news portals.
And, I believe newspapers are not the yardstick of journalism. Journalism is collecting, writing and presenting of news and in doing so following some universally accepted principles such as accuracy, objectivity and fairness.
As a blogger – I always believed that there is nothing called absolute objectivity (for that matter nothing absolutely right or absolutely wrong). It depends on the perspective of the individuals. And, I also believe that feelings of the human being in any news are more important than facts.
Journalism should evolve; the principles we hold today for it were not the exact principles held a few decades ago and they will not remain exact in next few decades. So, even if there is no newspapers, journalism will remain with more strong principles and matured practices.
Newspapers may be something not as popular as it today, but media industry will remain [I don’t say survive because falling down of companies and rising of new companies is a constant process]. But the dominant medium will be web!