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At last week’s PRSA Media Breakfast, which Rachel Brockway summarized nicely in her most recent blog post, a not-so-foreign but unsettling question all the same arose: How many people here read an actual newspaper? And for those who do, do you think that they will eventually become a thing of the past?

Out of the 20 or so people in the room, only a handful raised their hands. And of those people, an even smaller amount admitted that reading the paper was part of their regular routine. I mean, this isn’t the first time that any of us had heard that the physical newspaper is gradually becoming obsolete, but it did generate a great discussion between the media and the PR pros present.

It goes without saying why digital news has become the preferred method for most millennials. However, there is something to be said about the print version – two things, actually.

  1. You are less likely to read any of that “fake news” in a newspaper.
  2. Newspapers actually organize the news from hardest-hitting to mainstream. It’s easier to look over or miss completely the big stories on some digital platforms.

Despite its benefits, the newspaper business seems to be giving up on itself. In September of 2016, the Newspaper Association of America, the trade group that has represented major newspaper publishers since 1887, dropped the word “Newspaper” and is now the News Media Alliance.

This is a smart move on their part, considering that the association’s membership has been dropping significantly in the past few years, but it’s sad to think that the very word that once defined this organization is no longer relevant to it.

So yes, it seems as though we may have to gear ourselves for a life without the paper, but how long do we have? Michael J. Klingensmith, the publisher and chief executive of The Star Tribune of Minneapolis, figures that the Sunday newspapers will be around at least another 20 years, though he wasn’t certain about how the rest of the week would fare.

What’s your prediction?

Breanne Krager
Breanne Krager
A former HMA Public Relations employee.

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