The News Industry in Light of the Internet
The introduction of the virtual communication medium has impacted many industries of the world. This has been mostly due to the widespread use of the internet as well as the easy access, navigation and availability of this medium for the customers. The internet medium has become a new mode for branding, establishing relations with friends, contacts and clients as well as reaching out to the customer.
This paper however focuses on how the internet and its evolution have impacted the News industry. The changes that have taken place in the News industry are explored and a prospective future of the news industry is provided in the highlight of present scenario.
Impact on News Industry
The presence of the internet has spawned an information revolution all around the world. This is directly impacting the news industry in world by changes the roles and identities of the press as the main product that is provided by the news industry is the dispersion of information to the public.
The ease of navigation and information dispersion provided in the internet has enables anyone at all to be a source of information. Many community websites have been created by local journalists and web programmers which provide information on current events, happenings as well as a brief overview of the regional news through these websites to the consumers. Moreover the internet has a global audience and it is possible for people anywhere in the world to access the information as long as it is available on the internet.
With the increased popularity and traffic that is going on the internet, the trend for people accessing news related information form the internet ahs also increased. People are now accessing online feeds of current affairs, world news, and weather as well as lifestyle news from popular news sites on the internet. This means that the news industry is facing a reduction in the demand and sales of news papers. People find it much more convenient to access news on the internet at their comfort without having to subscribe or pay for it. However some website and news providing companies online do ask for subscription but it is usually a one time process and does not require significant investment of money or time.
The changing lifestyles of the people pertaining to their orientation towards technology and the increase in popularity and demand of gadgets like PDAs, hand held smart phones, and internet based communication devices is enabling consumers to access information form anywhere at any time by just logging on to the internet.
Changes in the News Industry
Over the period of time the News industry has had to face many challenges pertaining to technology. These came in the form of the radio and the television. However the news industry adapted to these changes and incorporated them in its infrastructure. The internet industry also proposes similar challenges to the News industry and as has been observed, it has made significant changes to the nature of the industry.
In the online documentary of ‘News War’ by Frontline, the American News Industry is analyzed. Specific interviews from industry leaders and prominent figures in the news and media industry are depicted. According to the documentary it was highlighted that the core audience of the News industry is decreasing. This is mostly due to the fact that the main audience for the industry is getting old, and the younger generation tends to seek News and related information through the internet and other mediums. According to a survey states in the documentary that American people who are under the age of 25 usually tend to seek information through shows like The Daily Show. (‘News War’, Frontline)
The companies in the news industry on the other hand are recruiting similar popular program like the Daily show in their news and journalism segments on their channels in order to improve their ratings. The impact for this has been that the renowned journalists are refusing to continue their contracts with the news companies. One such example is Ted Coppel from ABC Nightline. In drastic actions the News paper owners are also cutting down their field staff. Dean Baquet the previous Managing Director for Tribune said “”The people who own newspapers … are beholden to shareholders” and “They want for the paper to be highly profitable, and sometimes that view of what a newspaper is supposed to be and my view, which is that a newspaper is a public trust, sometimes they come into conflict.” (‘News War’, Frontline)
Jeff Fager from 60 Minutes clearly stated that the future of the news industry lies with collaboration with the internet medium. He mentioned that “We haven’t seen the model for how broadcast journalism is going to end up on the Internet, but … it has to go there. I mean, you don’t see anybody between 20 and 30 getting their news from the evening news; you see them getting it online.” (‘News War’, Frontline)
However such notions are put of by the internet news providers the like of Yahoo and a Google as they claim that they only report on the news which is reported through the reputable news channels. As a result of the channels and the news industry is to stop investing in their field staff and their infrastructure then the whole of the news industry is going to fail, including the online news providers. As a result collaboration between the current news industry and the internet news providers is essential for the future of the company.
John Carrol form Los Angeles time supported this notion by stating that “I estimate … that 85 percent of the original reporting that’s done in the United States is done by newspapers. They’re the people who are going out and knocking on doors and rummaging through records and covering events and so on. And most of the other media that provide news to people are really recycling news that’s gathered by newspapers.” (‘News War’, Frontline)
Future of the News Industry
Internet has made way with the gatekeeper of information making it accessible to all. The future of the News industry is very dynamic as the internet provides the industry with unlimited opportunities pertaining to communication which can be used as a business process as well as a product offering by the companies in the news industry. However the presence of the internet is also changing the way journalists, politicians and consumers conduct their business and carry out their activities as a result in the future it is also possible for newspapers as we know them to be eliminated. However instead of it new technologies and products which dispense news will come about. The most recent of these products is the emergence of online blogs, RSS feeds to websites and online newspapers. A prosperous news industry is only able to exist if the companies in the industry strive to adapt to the technology of internet instead of fight against it.
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“News War”, Frontline, 2007, accessed November 30, 2007 from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/newswar/view/
Cryns, D.S., “Impact of the Internet: Newspaper Industry”, 2002, University of Maryland, accessed November 30, 2007 from http://www.grin.com/en/preview/8270.html
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