The Future of Newspapers: Where Have They Gone?

Newspaper printing around the world has slowed down, or even ceased to exist for some publications—but why? What has happened to the daily ritual of reading prints and what does the future hold for publications extensively? 

Veronica Glover

Senior Staff Writer

Over the summer, no matter where I went, I noticed that there were hardly any newspaper stands around. I remember newspapers being a staple of my grandparents’ mornings, along with coffee and breakfast. At the time, I only cared for the comics and compelling headlines. Newspapers had a way of uniting individuals without having to say much at all. Nowadays, I can only long for the fast-paced shuffle of adults who never forgot to grab the paper while rushing off to work and wish that I had adapted that as a part of my coming-of-age. 

Not only are newspaper stands scarce, but the ones that do remain are filthy and decrepit, as if they have been neglected for years. The most reasonable explanation for the decline of newspaper stands would be the development of technology and social media. Publications that have been printing for over a hundred years are now publishing digital versions of the newspaper online and bringing printing to a halt.

Most publications now only print on certain days, which means no more Saturday morning papers. This is largely due to Gannett, a mass media company responsible for U.S. Publishing Operations. They recently announced changes to their organization that will scale back over 42 well-received publications, such as USA Today, to newsprints only a few times per week. Unfortunately, publications including the Kingston Reporter and Country Gazette have ceased to print publications entirely. Since the pandemic, newspaper printing has been declining rapidly with deliveries slowing and journalists being laid off, leading readers to transition to digital publications. 

Like most families, parents and children decorated the dining room with the morning paper: the mother read the columns and lifestyle section; the father read the sports, politics, or business section; and the children read the comics. Newspapers were a way to reach a larger audience at a faster rate with front page headlines, editorials and advertisements. You may even notice subsequently that someone circled an ad or cut out a clipping of a recipe. With that said, these publications have become an eminent pastime for creating dynamics that bond an entire household and bringing forth discussions that allow individuals to learn from one another. Philosophers predicted that prints would have been eradicated decades ago, yet these old-fashioned traditions are a part of American culture and should be deemed as physical artifacts.  

There are many factors that led to the decline of printing and publications, to a degree: Namely, print costs and inflation, along with less engagement from readers as technology and social media advances. Nonetheless, a major concern is for those unable to adapt to the rapid changes of publications. Older generations, who are less technologically savvy, struggle to understand smart devices, let alone the internet. Typically, those more mature in age are less inclined to keep up with modern times. In addition, there may not be resources available to make the transition to e-reader accessible. Newspapers have become an established custom from one generation to the next and should remain an indispensable tool to accessibly receive critical information and stay up-to-date with current events. 

Categories: Opinions

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1 reply

  1. I remember selling the Sunday newspaper when I was 16. I would get around 40 newspapers, put them in my newspaper bag and go throughout my neighborhood to sell. I always had steady customers and a few would ask for that thick Sunday bundle of the latest news. I would sell the papers to accumulate a certain number of points to receive certain prizes for myself or my younger siblings. Later on, as an adult, I would ride with my best friend throughout the early mornings to deliver newspapers to his customers before 7am. With the advance of modern technology, lots of newspapers and magazines have advanced to
    e-commerce to approach a younger, more technology savvy customer, who can get their morning news in the palm of their hand BEFORE leaving for the workplace. As the old saying goes, “The more things change, the more they stay the same”.

    Driving through downtown Greensboro last week, I realized the old News and Record building was abandoned; another relic of times long gone. Go into any Food Lion, Walmart, or local gas station and you can find the newspaper…a thin example of what use to be. And I remember the price of the weekly newspaper to be $.50 at one time. Then to $.75 then to $1.00 to $1.25. It would seem, the higher the price for the weekly newspaper, the thinner it became. The sad part is most people around my age are utilizing technology moreso than the generation before us. Unfortunately the newspaper will be an item long gone from society.



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