The Reaper comes for print readers

By Ethan Nichols, World News Editor

The decline in print publication is one of the greatest tragedies of our lifetime. Print media was once a revolutionary method to distribute information to the masses.   

Across the country, print publications are shutting their doors or moving entirely digital. Newspapers are losing readers, advertisers, and market viability, and are struggling to keep up.  

In recent years, many outlets have shuttered entirely, unable to keep up. Between 2005-2021, 2,200 local print newspapers closed permanently, with many more moving entirely digital to attempt to keep up with the speed of news.  

Locally, we’ve seen cuts in staff, circulation, and the way in which journalism operates. The Clermont Sun, a local paper in neighboring Clermont County, shut down its printing press this past summer, moving entirely digital.  

The Clermont Sun previously printed Newswire’s weekly print edition. With the news that our printer was shutting down, Newswire was forced to move digital.  

While there have certainly been benefits to focusing on our digital news presence, the death of print is to be mourned.  

We lose the physical connection, and while many may view print newspapers as nothing more than a novelty, it fundamentally affects the quality of the journalism you read.  

Short attention spans and the demand for high-speed news at all hours of the day have contributed to many media outlets having to prioritize and center digital content. The fast-paced nature of the way in which we consume media has fundamentally changed the way modern journalism operates.  

One of the many benefits of print journalism was the ability to focus on quality reporting, across various avenues. The emergence of online-only blogs and outlets that focused on parroting already-published news has led to the increased online circulation of journalism conducted by traditional print media reporters.  

While digital-based journalism can increase transparency and allow for increased coverage in many capacities, and allow for innovative ways to source and handle news. 

Andrew Conte, founding director of the Center for Media Innovation at Point Park University, wrote a book titled “Death of the Daily News” about how citizens can filter and source information and news as local newspapers have slowly died. 

“The massive changes that have caused so much disruption and pain for our industry also are creating opportunities for the future of local journalism,” Conte said. 

The rise of social media and the digital era has allowed for us to disseminate news and information at rapid pace. While, in many ways, this is a good thing, it does have its downfalls. As we can quickly share and spread information globally in a matter of seconds, news of crises and pertinent information can be easily accessed by almost anyone.  

Unfortunately, many live without access to the internet or without stable connections.  

According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations agency for information and communication technologies, approximately 37% of the world’s population has still never accessed the internet.  

In the United States, nearly 22.5% of all homes do not have internet access. This issue is only compounded for rural communities, who often lack the infrastructure and access that makes widespread internet connectivity possible.  

Many of these same communities have, in recent years, lost their local news outlets as print media slowly dies. Living in a news desert is dangerous. The average poverty rate in a news desert is 5% higher than the national average. Without access to information and news, we leave these communities without the tools and information necessary to begin to address these problems.  

Newspapers and print media have long been the backbone of American democracy. The internet is not the answer to every problem, and unless we begin to address and create avenues for smart, factual, and accurate news to be disseminated to all communities, the death of print will only lead to increased problems. 

The death of print is to be mourned.