Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Death of the Newspaper

by the Weekly Sillimanian | February 13, 2023

Do you remember the last time you picked up a newspaper from the newsstand? Perhaps it’s been a while.

The advent of ever-present media and technology has changed how people consume and access news and entertainment. Today, more Filipinos get their news from Facebook than from the newspaper. A survey from the Social Weather Report during the first quarter of 2019 revealed that less than two percent of Filipinos read the paper every day. However, traditional television still reigns as king, with 60 percent of the population choosing it as their primary source of information and news.

With decreasing trust in newspapers and traditional media, many Filipinos have also moved on to relying on vloggers and social media to be informed on worldly and national events. Public trust in the Philippine media was at its lowest in 2020 at 27 percent, according to the 2020 Digital News Report. The dip in trust in the media can be attributed to former President Rodrigo Duterte diminishing the credibility of journalists by labeling them as “prostitutes,” “fake news,” and “lowlifes.” Because of his criticisms, the reputation of media companies such as the Philippine Daily Inquirer, ABS-CBN, and Rappler took a massive hit.

With more eyes on screens than papers, one can wonder—what will the future of print media and journalism be?

According to a 2014 case study from the University of the Philippines Diliman, declining readership will dissolve the natural cycle of newspaper readers, threatening the longevity of the local newspaper industry. With the industry failing to convert the youth into newspaper readers, who will be their future patrons? 

Furthermore, many publications have opted for completely online operations, while some did not 

bother and just shut down altogether. 

An independent, student-run newspaper at the University of Maryland, The Diamondback, started publishing exclusively online content starting March 2020, putting an end to its 110 years of print publications. The shift to online operations was decided by the editors given the increasing difficulty in funding their print publication and with many of their readers going online. 

Although evolving and changing with the tide is imperative for companies and industries to continue surviving, we at the Weekly Sillimanian still believe in the importance and value of print newspapers. Having physical copies of published papers holds journalists accountable like no other form of media. Thus, promoting accuracy and fairness in journalistic writing. 

On a deeper note, newspapers have been beacons of truth, especially in local communities during difficult times. Newspapers are bringers of democracy to society, allowing readers to make informed decisions through accurate reports.

However, changing times might mean having a new form of media take its place. Newspapers will not disappear altogether. Readers will simply opt for other forms of media, most likely digital.

If you haven’t picked up a physical newspaper in a while, go ahead and pick one up, just for old times’ sake.

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