It is now ten years since I began writing weekly newspaper columns. Things have changed a great deal during that time. Some have predicted that because of technology, newspapers and books are facing an impending death but I don’t believe it.
I love the feel of having a book in my hands and don’t think that I am alone. I also enjoy the newspaper that is left at my door each morning and frequently cut out articles to keep or share with others.
I do believe, however, that the newspaper industry is in the process of revitalizing. This week I want to share some ways in which changes are being made as well as some words that might be new to you:
1. Cyber fiber is a term that describes the fact that many newspapers are now accessible on the web. Because of this, publishers are focusing more on local stories and developing local news sources to produce copy that readers can’t get in others places in a credible and deep way.
2. Crowd sourcing is a process of inviting readers to have more input into stories by providing information that they have, influencing how they want a story to be written or asking questions. The hard copy invites readers to provide feedback and internet editions offer links for comments. This practice has transformed the concept of newspapers which were once merely a source of information to now being a two-way exchange of information between publisher and readers.
3. Cartocols – Rather than writing long narratives, newspapers now convey important information in chunks with suitable graphics. This way the story is told in a more approachable way for readers who just want brief information that can be digested quickly rather than a lot of details.
4. Advertising – The consolidation of department store chains has reduced the demand for full-page advertisers. Newspapers have therefore had to create new ways to satisfy smaller advertisers.
5. New Formats – Community newspapers, inserts, focused magazines and niched websites provide different ways for readers to access the information that interests them without having to sift through the overwhelming amount of information that is published every day.
Just like in any business, newspapers have to provide a product that the customer wants and this requires introducing changes to ensure that this happens. Young people are being mentored in schools to read the newspapers and all ages are now able to choose whether they want to learn what is happening through electronic or hard copy.
In the middle of a world of change – some things stay the same.
I know that I am going to continue readings newspapers and books that I can physically hold.
(Oh, and when I comes to writing my newspaper columns – I will likely be here for another ten years!)
Have a great week!