In the era of digital journalism, newspapers are losing their readers because readers are shifting to digital portals like websites, YouTube, media applications, and many more. However, there are still some opportunities before the newspaper industry, even in the era of digital journalism.
The history of the newspaper industry
In Roman times, newsletters between authorities or acquaintances were acknowledged as a common means of communication. In the late Middle Ages, newsletters between important trading families started routinely crossing borders. In the German city of Augsburg, one family, the Fuggers, owned a significant banking institution; even outsiders were familiar with their biweekly newsletters. As a modern financial editor must consider the broader scope of events likely to influence economic transactions, traders’ newsletters could also include political news and commercial information on the availability and costs of various goods and services. The commercial newsletter, with its attempt at frequent, regular publishing and attention to current events in general, thus became the first vehicle of “serious” news.
The Relation of Strasbourg, which Johann Carolus first published in 1609, is the periodical that is typically given priority as a recognized newspaper. Thus, the newspaper industry has a very long history of 413 years.
The emergence of digital journalism
With the release of the first commercial web browser, Netscape, in 1994 and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer in 1995, there was an actual beginning of digital journalism. In 1996, the majority of print and television news organizations had websites. Their content at the time was mostly restricted to what the market today refers to as “Shovelware,” text, video, and audio that have been “repurposed” for web publication from its original format without modifying substance (Most internet news continues to fit under this heading). The digital version provided new methods to access the same journalism.
Comparative analysis of the newspaper industry and digital journalism
The newspaper industry has a glorious history of 413 years, whereas digital journalism is 27 years old only. However, still, it is a cut-throat competition between both of these, and the credit goes to new media. As people have no time read lengthy articles in newspapers and sit idle before television sets and wait for their favourite content, users are shifting to digital news platforms like Inshorts, Dailyhunt, The Logical Indian, Brut, and many more. All newspapers and news channels know the importance and effectiveness of digital journalism. As a result, we can see that every newspaper and news channel has its presence in digital journalism. However, still, there are some opportunities and challenges in the newspaper industry, which are discussed below:
Challenges before the newspaper industry:
- Users need time to read the entire newspaper or the content of their interests. On the contrary, users can use digital journalism and know what is happening worldwide, even in a few minutes.
- To receive copies of a newspaper, a user has to do a subscription. In contrast, digital journalism is free of cost.
- A user must be literate to read the newspaper. However, although a user is illiterate, he/she can use digital journalism platforms like videos and audio.
- Users must carry a 28″ long newspaper if he/shewants to read it elsewhere. At the same time, the same user can use digital journalism whenever and whenever he/she wants. A user needs to carry a mobile, which he/she always has with him/her.
- A citizen of Japan cannot subscribe to a hard copy of any newspaper in India. At the same time, a web version of any country’s newspaper is available to use by a citizen of any country.
- While reading a newspaper, a user has to skip some pages which are not of his/her interest. On the contrary, digital journalism provides news of individual interest only. Furthermore, the credit goes to the “Accept cookies” option available on Google and “Artificial intelligence” monitoring every user activity on electronic devices such as mobile, computers, laptops, and many more to provide content of choice to a user.
- An investor needs a considerable amount to start a newspaper business as an investor has to purchase a big building, buy an enormous printing press, and many more. In comparison, a digital journalism platform can also start with a tiny amount of investment. It can also be started on a small scale.
Opportunities for the newspaper industry even in the era of digital journalism:
- In a country like India, not every citizen has smartphones, computers, and laptops which are compulsorily required to use digital journalism platforms. According to an estimate by Prensa Latina, India has a population of 1.38 billion. However, only 1.2 billion people are mobile subscribers. Moreover, out of them, only 750 million are smartphone users. It means 630 million people in India do not have smartphones, without which a user cannot use digital journalism platforms. In this case, only newspapers have an opportunity to reach these users.
- Not all of India’s villages and some parts of many countries have proper mobile networks. On 1st October 2022, Prime minister Narendra Modi started the 5G service in some selected cities of Ahmedabad and Varanasi. However, many towns and villages do not yet have a good 4G network in India and abroad. Unfortunately, some countries are still not having LTE technology. In this case, the use of digital journalism is not possible.
- A newspaper is a form of traditional journalism. Moreover, as it has a glorious history, people rely on it. Newspapers provide a neutral opinion. In contrast, platforms of digital journalism may be anti or pro-government.
- While reading web versions of digital journalism, users may have distractions such as online advertisements, notifications from various websites, messages, calls, and many more. On the contrary, a user can read a newspaper and enjoy reading with a cup of tea without distraction while sitting in a peaceful place and putting his/her mobile in silent mode.
- history of publishing – The first newspapers. (n.d.). Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved October 1, 2022, from https://www.britannica.com/topic/publishing/The-first-newspapers
- Scott, B. (2005, February). A Contemporary History of Digital Journalism. Television & New Media, 6(1), 89–126. https://doi.org/10.1177/1527476403255824
- India has an estimated population of 1.38 billion inhabitants – Prensa Latina. (2021, December 31). Prensa Latina – Latin American News Agency. Retrieved October 1, 2022, from https://www.plenglish.com/news/2021/12/31/india-has-an-estimated-population-of-1-38-billion-inhabitants/
- LTE Coverage by Country | Mappr. (2021, February 14). Mappr. Retrieved October 1, 2022, from https://www.mappr.co/thematic-maps/lte-coverage-by-country/#:~:text=Bosnia%2C%20Montenegro%2C%20Albania%2C%20Macedonia,to%20switch%20to%20LTE%20technology