«What Changes Have Occurred in the Pattern of Reading the News (US)?» Essay Sample

What Changes Have Occurred in the Pattern of Reading the News (US)?

Chapter One

Introduction

In the modern world, the new technologies are rapidly developing. Consequently, the traditional ways of communication and receiving information lose their primary positions (Stempel & Hargrove, 2008). For many decades, newspapers have been the most popular sources of news in the society. People bought them in order to know what was happening at home or abroad. However, this mean of receiving information was far from being objective because usually, national newspapers provided only the information that did not contradict the governmental policy (Vincze, 2011). The primary task of newspapers to offer balanced information was faulted in some instances and, thus, people could get only one point of view.

On the other hand, the Internet significantly dissolved the information borders between the countries; its users got an opportunity to receive information from different sources and shape their own vision of a particular situation. The development of the Internet influenced many spheres of people’s routine, especially the informative aspects. Today, many people prefer the Internet news due to the numerous benefits that it avails to the users (Vincze, 2011). Despite the decreased popularity of traditional sources of information, the older generations still prefer the old-school methods of receiving information such as newspapers and television. Despite the above, the newspaper is in a serious danger of being phased out as the generations pass and new sources of information gain momentum (Xu, Forman, Kim, & Van Ittersum, 2014).

In the article “Americans Show Signs of Leaving a News Outlet, Citing Less Information,” Jodi Enda and Amy Mitchell point out that, in the recent times, a lot of publishers have to close their foreign bureaus or reduce the number of reporters. The reason is financial constrains that have been caused by the reduced demand among other reasons. The survey reported that both the older people and young individuals with at least college education were aware of the financial strains facing the traditional news outlets. Moreover, the annual income affected priorities of the news organizations, and they tried to focus on raising their income. In addition, those that remained profitable spent considerable time and efforts for covering the share of those that were financially struggling. This trend became a competition strategy in informing people. Moreover, the respondents from North and East showed higher level of awareness about the situation than those from South and West. The political affiliation, however, was proved not to affect people’s considerations on the reduced demand for newspapers. Both the Democrats and Republicans believed that the resulting financial situation made reporting more difficult at the national and international levels; however, the Black Americans had a dissenting opinion. Finally, the significant reason of why the majority of people refused the traditional news outlets was named the reduced quality of reporting as the independence and balance of information presented in newspapers were skewed as compared to the Internet that offers many points of view and data from many unrelated sources; hence, it provided many perspectives (Xu et al., 2014). 

The article reveals the principle issues affecting the news organizations and reasons of why they are abandoned. It can be useful for the publishers to offer a balanced perspective since only providing a solid understanding of the problem to the targeted audience can help in finding an effective solution. The analysts argue that it is disastrous for people not to be interested in the news affecting them; on the other hand, today’s enlightenment makes general public seek the quality and balanced coverage of events (Xu et al., 2014). People are less interested in the writers’ or editors’ opinion and demand stories covered as they happened so they could shape own opinions. Meanwhile, others think that the public should read more newspapers in order to save the once-vibrant printing press industry. It can be a significant economic step that, however, may not be sustainable if the industry does not become responsive to the dynamic market needs.  It is important to note that the reading culture among the Americans has not changed while the preference of newspaper as a reading material has declined. 51% of respondents surveyed enjoyed reading; however, less than 23% read newspapers in print while only 9% read the digital format. The digital format of newspapers provided the readers with the unparalleled convenience and accessibility through smart devices. It also ensured interactive comparison with the social media helping to enrich the readers’ perspectives and, hence, a better understanding.

History of the Media

In general, the history of the modern media industry dates back to the 1920s. However, only after the communication revolution in the 1950s, it gained the widespread acceptance and popularity. The early twentieth century was a period of the world wars. At that time, the early media was under a strict governmental control. In fact, primarily, it was of a propaganda nature and did not have a goal to present the events in a true light. However, after the communication revolution, the media has become more independent from the political influence. Although the governments still continued using the media as the main source of its propaganda, there appeared the newspapers articles and TV programs, which did not support the government views. Sometimes, the media would steer clear of certain political views. The condition has changed towards the end of the twentieth century with the development of cyber technologies. The Internet, among others, has moved the media to a new level and made it more independent than it had ever been; moreover, the control over the media weakened. Additionally, the role in the media is shifting to cover all the members of society in that any person who has the Internet connection is able to present own views, news, and perspectives. Sometimes, the quality and the credibility of such news are dubious but many perspectives concerning a single event may assist the reader in developing an independent understanding of the situation.

 
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The History of Blogs, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter

Blogs, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and all other forms of social media (new media) have developed into the more effective means of communication especially in comparison to the traditional sources of news. Unlike the traditional media, the new media is interactive and more entertaining: the audience is also allowed to participate in creating the content. The public plays a great part in spreading the information; in some cases, it even dictates the direction of the discussions. In particular, this part of the paper analyses the history of the social media and its networks and how it has been used for spreading the political and international news, as well as its credibility in delivering news as compared to the physical newspapers. The new media can be said to have started in around 1997 with establishing the first conventional blog, in which the author shared his views and personal experiences on a daily basis. Facebook appeared second in 2004; it was followed by YouTube in 2005 and Twitter in 2006 (Van Dijck, 2013). Generally, it can be appreciated that among the new media, there were the mere networking sites where people could independently create and share the content as individuals. Soon afterwards, the corporate world realized and began to exploit their potential with respect to how many people were using them. The initial task of these websites was connecting people and allowing them to share the interesting aspects of their lives. With time, however, the new media has converted into a platform for productive discussions ranging from the political, social, financial, academic, and humanitarian subjects (Fuchs & Sandoval, 2013). 

Today, most media houses have own web pages, online groups, and operate social networking platforms, which they use for spreading the information to the public and generating public views and reactions. They use social media for supplementing the traditional forms of broadcasting. Depending on how interesting the news is, the fans and followers share it with their friends, as well as create a wide network that, eventually, provides an access to that particular piece of information (Noor & Hendricks, 2012).

Another way of spreading news is by generating the online discussions. One unique aspect that makes the new media different from the traditional one is its interactive nature (Fuchs, 2013). With the help of the new media, everyone is actively involved in the process of information sharing and, as a result, it is considerably easier to generate the interest among the public. When a particular thought needs to be spread out, all the responsible party has to do is to start a discussion about it and ensure there is as much participants as possible. With the hashtag approach, it is very easy to spread the news and make it a trending topic on the Twitter platform. 

The bloggers are also able to spread the information by posting the notes on their blogs and starting the heated discussions with their audience. The general concept of the new media is interactivity as it is the main reason for its triumph over the traditional media. Without engaging the audience, the new media simply lacks the extra ability to share information quickly and over large areas (Fuchs, 2013).

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Background Information

The twenty-first century marked the beginning of an era of new technologies because of the rapid development of cyberspace. Information is the most vital source of power in the modern society; people who control information rule the world. The outmoded sources of news such as newspapers, radio, and television have also experienced the influence of the new technologies. The rapid spread of the Internet has created the new ways of receiving information (Vincze, 2011). Today, people spend more time in the social media and prefer searching information in the Internet to receiving it from newspapers or television. This phenomenon can be explained from different perspectives. First, the access of information through the Internet is fast and easy for most people as they do not have to wait for a particular time on television in order to watch news. In addition, the skipped news programs or earlier news shows can be easily accessed on the Internet at any time. It is impossible with the television and is very tedious with the print newspapers (Stempel & Hargrove, 2008). Consequently, a person can watch news when he or she has free time, and does not have to change the daily schedule according to the TV news programs.

Secondly, despite the fact that the journalists should show balance in their presentation of information, usually, this task is disregarded or ignored as every news channel or program presents information that corresponds to its general policy or that of the country or some other interested parties (Maier, 2010). Politics and news are always interconnected; thus, if one needs to receive the full picture of events, he or she needs to use different sources, which present the same event from different perspectives.

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Thirdly, the improvement of the mobile phone industry and availability of applications provided people with an opportunity to obtain news using a wide array of personal smart devices. Today, many people in the US can access and effectively use a smartphone; even the cheapest and simplest smart devices provide an opportunity of downloading and using the news applications. All the people with smart device and those who own personal computers with the Internet connection may not have any use for a print newspaper unless under very specific circumstances. The above reasons caused the drop in demand for print newspapers to its all-time lowest point. Some printing press corporations may fail to recognize how it important it is for them to respond to the current trends in the market so they can change their operations and remain profitable. The traditional sources of information and especially newspapers might be phased out as the times change and print press companies may need to diversify. The current sources of information allow a person to receive information at home, in public transport, or during a job break; consequently, people can follow independent schedules of receiving news. This option may not be conveniently available in the case of newspapers.

The Internet News (Digital News) Credibility over the Traditional Media

The traditional media includes the market giant such as The New York Times, CNN, and BBC among others. All these companies have been the credible sources of the political and financial news for many years. The challenge for them, however, has become the fact that in these corporate entities, the editors and other stakeholders can decide on the content that reaches the public (Fuchs &‎ Sandoval, 2013). With the new media, people are free to state their views and opinions on the subject immediately; thus, it is almost impossible to fake the truth. Therefore, usually, the blogs, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are more credible and objective sources of information than the traditional media, in general. In addition, they reach more people owing to their convenience of being on the Internet and accessibility through various mobile devices.  

The Social Media and Newspaper Reporting

The new and improved technology has witnessed the widespread use of the Internet all over the world. For instance, the globalization has increased the need for the nations to access international news within the shortest time possible. As a result, most countries have embraced the digital migration in a bid to manage the ever-changing trends in technology. Even though newspapers are still considered credible agents of the international reporting, blogs spread information fast, are highly interactive on numerous platforms, and have a higher vitality (Nielsen, 2012).

Statement of the Problem

The rapid development of the modern technologies and usage of the Internet endangers the existence of the traditional sources of physical news. Today, more people prefer news received via the Internet due to their numerous benefits. As a result, the traditional newspapers such as The USA Today and numerous local newspapers may disappear because of the reduced demand and average readers per day. The imbalance caused by the increasing influence of the Internet as a mean for spreading the news and the reducing preference for physical newspapers creates uncertainty in the newspaper market. At the same time, the Internet is deeply rooting in people’s lives; the trend signals its continued survival in the future. This fact also shows that the reduction in the sales of physical newspapers will continue in the future. Moreover, due to massive research done to develop the screens that are friendlier to the users’ eyes, the new media will only develop. With the evidence of the past reduction in the number of newspaper copies sold and the increasing trend of acceptance of digital news, physical newspapers will continue losing their grounds to the new technologies.

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Research Questions

This research seeks for the information on the past, current, and projected future trends in demand of a newspaper as a product. Additionally, it also tries to understand the consumers’ views on newspapers as sources of information and study various aspects in the content and presentation of a physical newspaper, which influence the current situation in the marker that endangers newspapers with being phased out. 

There are other sources of information that are gaining popularity while the physical newspapers are losing the same. The research seeks to find out what aspects contribute to this trend and whether anything can be done in order to help newspapers gain demand or become an appealing source of information as it used to be.

The information is sorted according to the network of newspapers and their influence on the general consumption. The research also studies whether the Internet is able to replace the newspapers fully. If this ever happens, the paper tries to find out whether it would be sound economically (Xu et al., 2014).

The Research Questions 

  • What changes have occurred in the pattern of reading the news?
  • What credibility do both physical newspaper and the Internet news (Facebook, Blogs, Twitter, and YouTube) have in terms of the international political events?
  • What is the preferred way for the American citizens to get the international political news and events?

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to estimate the development of the Internet news and the factors, which influence the industry. In addition, the study seeks to identify the reasons that cause changes in the newspaper market, and the possible development of physical newspapers in the future. The study shows the full picture of this phenomenon observed from different perspectives in order to receive the most adequate explanation of this trend and predict both the positive and negative consequences on the modern world: society and individuals.

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The study is extremely crucial and can be used by the newspaper companies for adjusting their marketing and production strategies in order to be more appealing to the consumers. At the same time, the society can understand the channels, through which it will receive news in the future. On the other hand, the companies that avail news via online channels will also benefit through learning the current and projected future trends and deciding on how to make their news more appealing.

Objectives

The aim of this research is to study the influence of the digital technologies on the traditional news outlet. It is important to estimate how the current and future generations will receive news. With the Internet, people are likely to share information in very interacting ways, as well as to receive and use it for networking. The study seeks to understand what makes people give preference to news received through the social and virtual networks and ignore the traditional sources of information. In addition, the study also provides statistics proving that the number of networking news users is increasing; consequently, it is possible to see the general trend in the news network and its wide spread among population, in general, and the age, gender, and education categories, in particular.  

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