Cultural staple slowly slips away

“The newspaper was a part of our culture. It provided many boys with their first job. It has become the clichéd instrument of choice for punishing the dog. It is the industry that Superman’s alter ego gets a pay check from. It is ingrained in our culture, but the newspaper industry has changed immensely from the advent of the printing press.”

The newspaper was a part of our culture. It provided many boys with their first job. It has become the clichéd instrument of choice for punishing the dog. It is the industry that Superman’s alter ego gets a pay check from.

It is ingrained in our culture, but the newspaper industry has changed immensely from the advent of the printing press. Timeliness is a priority in our society. We want news and we want it now. With these faster technologies our craving for the here and now can be satisfied, but creates a problem for newspapers. Technology has allowed us to have the latest news literally at our fingertips, creating less need and leaving their future uncertain.

The advancement in technology is hurting the newspaper industry. How can a piece of paper compete with the technology on our phones that allows us to check the latest news in seconds? The answer is that in this society, they can’t and that is one reason newspapers are on such shaky ground.

Newspapers were once the only game in town, but now the game has changed and newspapers have lost the edge they had. A horrible economy and the advancement in technology is proving to be a fatal combination for the industry. Newspapers are a main source of getting the latest news, but will they soon become history?

The industry is cutting back in many ways to try and stay alive. Newspapers are smaller with fewer and smaller articles. They have cut jobs, pay and hours. The Charlotte Observer announced last Monday that they are eliminating 15 percent of their employees, cutting back pay and hours. The owners of the papers said if the economy doesn’t improve that, that a week long furlough will happen later in the year. The News and The Observer of Raleigh, two major newspapers in North Carolina, announced that they would also be cutting jobs. There are many articles that say that the death of the newspaper is quickly approaching, some speculating that the industry to be gone within the next year. Also analysis of the industry suggests that many publishers may not be able to pay debts because of the decline in advertising.

There are possible solutions out there including having online papers and a legislative bill. The bill, called the paper Revitalization Act, would have newspapers become nonprofit and used for education. Both options are a possibility for the future of newspapers, but both of those solutions mean the newspaper industry as we know it will be changed.

The future of the newspaper industry is uncertain. Newspapers have been such a staple in our society in the past that for it to have no future or lead a drastically different existence would be disappointing. The idea of having to explain to children 10 years from now what a newspaper was is sad.

Although in the tangible sense a newspaper is paper with words printed on it, to kids 20 or even 10 years from now that may be all the significance it will have. It will be thought of as some old piece of paper, a piece of the past instead of a representation of the present.