Print Newspapers vs. Online Editions: The Pros and Cons
As a newspaper enthusiast, I am happy about the success of online newspapers. However, I am terribly sad about the struggle of the print newspaper industry.
I have been exposed to the inner-workings of newspapers for a long time, and I have seen firsthand that the declining interest in print editions has put a strain on newspapers, often leading them to make huge staff cuts or cease publication completely.
What is it about print newspapers that people just aren’t into anymore? What does an online edition have that appeals to so many readers? Here are some of the major benefits and drawbacks of both print and online newspapers.
Print newspaper pro: It’s physical.
The feeling of a warm newspaper right off the press is one of my favorite feelings, and the fact that a print newspaper can be physically held in your hands is a huge pro for print editions, in my opinion.
Not only can you hold a print edition in your hand when you first get it, but you can also save it back to look at any time.
A print newspaper is everlasting and unchanging, whereas articles can be hidden away on an online website in a matter of a few days.
Print newspaper con: It’s not free.
The price tag of a print newspaper, though small, is likely one of the biggest reasons for its decline.
Many people don’t see the point in buying a print newspaper if they believe they can get all the news they need online for free.
Some might say that declining circulation doesn’t matter since print newspapers still receive ad revenue. However, circulation and ad sales have an intertwining relationship.
Let me explain. When advertisers notice that circulation numbers are declining for a particular newspaper, it automatically alerts them that the newspaper isn’t reaching as many people as it used to, therefore making their advertising less effective.
This decline in circulation could therefore lead to a decline in advertising, which spells bad news for any newspaper.
All things considered, 75 cents for a daily newspaper isn’t half bad if it could lead to saving the industry.
Online newspaper pro: It’s immediately accessible and convenient.
If you’re running late to class or work but you want to take a look at the news, you probably aren’t going to make a trip to the store to buy the newspaper when you can look at the online edition right away.
As an added bonus, online newspapers are very good at bringing the big news of the day to the focal point of the website, which means you don’t have to hunt for the things you want to read.
In this fast-paced world, people don’t want to spend time fumbling through a print newspaper to find an article when they can search for and find it online in a matter of seconds.
Online newspaper con: It doesn’t include everything.
If a newspaper releases a special print publication outside of its regular edition – for example, an edition specifically highlighting an upcoming election and its candidates – this content often does not make it online.
Sometimes online editions will even leave out content from the print newspaper’s regular edition.
If it is a busy news day and content online is already overflowing, some smaller news items may never make it on the web, leaving online readers slightly less informed than print readers.
We all have our own preferences for getting news, but if you don’t usually read a print newspaper or if you have never been on a newspaper’s website, I encourage you to give them a try!
Once you know have experienced both newspaper formats, you will be able to determine for yourself which one is the right fit for you.
So, go grab your local print newspaper or log on to its website, and get reading!