Will Digital News be the Death of the Printed Newspaper? | Hacker Noon

@scotthickmanScott Hickman

Live in France but British at heart, play the piano, write on my tech blog: The Detechtor

Printed newspapers have been around for a long time, some newspapers appearing as early as the 16th century namely in Germany. However, they quickly gained in popularity outside of Germany in countries like the United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden and France.

Digital news, on the other hand, has only been around for as long as the internet. Starting in the late 1990’s it has continuously grown in popularity, decreasing the number of printed newspapers being sold.

Will printed news survive or will everyone eventually turn to their devices? In this article, I’ll be explaining some of the reasons why people are reading digital news and also some reasons why the printed newspaper may not die.

The reasons behind the popularity of digital news

It is back in the 1990’s digital news became a possibility with the creation of the internet. At that time few people had access to it but nowadays almost anyone can get online directly from their smartphone. The creation of the internet has allowed us to access every type of music at the click of a button, watch TV and films whenever and wherever you want all from our smartphones, and reading the news is no exception.

With online news and media companies gaining in popularity, like the Huffington post, and even traditionally printed paper companies now available online, like The Guardian or The Times, it has never been so easy to read the latest headlines. So here are the reasons behind the success:

  • The simplicity. The most obvious reason why people love digital news is its easy access, all you need is to download an app or go to a website and you’ll have every news article at your fingertips. No need to walk down to the local corner store to buy the latest copy when all you need is an internet connection!
  • The age of the subscription. Nowadays all most all online content, whether its music, TV, books or news require a subscription. It has become normal to pay for a monthly or yearly subscription to access our favourite content and news companies will often only let you read their articles if you are a paying subscriber.

    However many people don’t mind or even like paying a subscription because they feel like they are getting premium content that is not otherwise available to non paying readers (which may be the case). One newspaper that comes to mind is The Guardian which is a printed newspaper and also available online or via the app, the digital version is free (which is amazing in my opinion) but they also offer a subscription to read their premium articles and to remove any ads (even though there aren’t that many).

Can printed news survive?

I hope so! Personally, I’m not a huge fan of digital news. I love to read a printed newspaper, so here are several reasons why I prefer them:

No distractions: I find that when I read the newspaper on my iPad, it’s just too easy to get distracted. If I get a notification from social media or an email I end up leaving my article and moving on to something else. However, when I’m reading the printed newspaper, my devices are far away and I can just concentrate on the latest news.

The tradition: This may seem silly but I love the fact that people have been buying and reading the newspaper for centuries and its a tradition that I don’t want to stop.

The feel: I like holding the newspaper! I don’t want to swipe left and right or scroll up and down, I want to turn the pages (even if the newspaper is big and I have to rearrange the pages once they’ve fallen out)!

And finally, the smell of ink and paper: I mentioned in a previous article that I love the smell of books and the same goes for newspapers! Maybe I’m weird or maybe I’m not alone but there is something about the smell that adds to the experience.

The bottom line:

I have nothing against digital news, I think it’s very useful but it just doesn’t compare to the printed newspaper experience. I sincerely hope that printed news doesn’t die but I’m aware that more and more people are turning towards digital news. Maybe we will get to the point when daily newspapers die out but the Sunday paper (which is probably the most popular) survives, we’ll have to wait and see.

This story was originally published on my tech blog, The Detechtor, where I cover stories on how tech impacts our lives, if you’re interested, check it out!

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