Are newspapers really becoming obsolete? (Week 23)

I’ve been deep in thought this week, pondering the possibility that the masses are correct in their assumption that the life cycle of newspapers are coming to an end.

The Hiawatha Advocate

I don’t believe it is. And it’s not just because I am starting my own newspaper in February. I truly believe that the printed newspaper has a place alongside computers, Smartphones, and iPads. Maybe it’s because I grew up with the newspaper faithfully finding its way to our doorstep every afternoon, and as I grew, looking forward to reading it over my first cup of coffee in the morning.

I remember trudging diligently from house to house as a paper girl, collecting my dues in the bitter cold, gaining a respect for the irate customers, who called to sternly tell me that their paper was missing. No questions asked, I grabbed an extra paper and delivered it to them personally. That was just the way it was.

But times have changed.

Cable came and changed the way we watch TV. We suddenly had 24 hours of news, if that’s what we wanted. We watched over and over the unfolding events that shook the world through the years. We couldn’t help it; they were on most of the 100 channels that we subscribed to.

Newspapers were affected, but there were still enough people who would not give up their newspaper, and so, newspapers were safe, for the time being.

But now that the younger generation is growing up and the older generation is passing on, there are fewer of us older folks than there once was. They want their information fast. Why shouldn’t they? That’s the way they were brought up, on the computer. And with applications for news websites on their phones, why would they need to pick up a newspaper?

Frustrated, I began to look for some shred of evidence, some indication, some hope that newspaper would not be going away anytime soon.

And I did. I found a few journalists who were able to give me some insight on where the printed newspaper is heading. They agreed that though daily newspapers were in the midst of a crisis, small town community newspapers are doing well. They wrote that because it provided a service for communication, it helped to build a bond within the community.

But there were some naysayers who stuck to their guns and insisted that there will come a day when the printed version will no longer exist.

Well, that may be, but I really don’t think so, not in my lifetime anyway. The printed newspaper has survived the radio, television, and cable. Computers are just another source.

I don’t think newspapers will go away, but I do believe that they way we use them will change. Technology is changing the way we get information, and it’s changing the way we think.

I still enjoy sitting down with a cup of coffee and relaxing while I read the newspaper. I don’t like reading on the computer because, even though I wear glasses, the bright light and small text hurts my eyes.

Being a journalist, I can write anything, anywhere, anytime. I am being encouraged to focus on an electronic version of my paper and forget about the printed version. But I can’t. I feel that there are still enough of us out there who enjoy reading the newspaper as it was meant to be. I will believe that until the last person on this Earth says that they don’t want to read the printed newspaper anymore.

And with hope in my heart, doesn’t look to be anytime soon.


  1. I hope you get a lot of positive comments from people in Hiawatha who will be happy to have their own hyper-local news source!


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