Friday, February 8, 2013

Newspapers are dead ... Long live the newspaper

By Mike Ullery
Chief Photographer

Will you still be reading a newspaper, I mean a newspaper printed on paper, five years from now? How about 10 years from now or two years from now?

Newspapers as we know them are going through some very scary times these days. Daily papers that have been around for many decades announce they are closing their doors, all too frequently.

I know. Newspaper employees are not at all alone in worrying if they will still have jobs in these uncertain times. We truly are all in this together.

In continuing efforts to stay afloat, newspaper publishers have cut back on everything from the number of employees to the physical size of the paper.

In spite of all of the negative aspects of our news world, I see many reasons for optimism.

Granted, the future of a pulp-originated paper page newspaper might be in question, the need to provide readers with professionally-gathered news is stronger than ever. Everyone wants to know what is going on with their world and who better than your friends and neighbors, your own hometown friends and neighbors, who work at your local paper, to keep you up to date with accurate information on what is happening around your town?

There are a number of old fogies, myself included, who would hate to ever see a newspaper go away. I sincerely hope that it never does.

We need to understand though that times are changing. Our children and grandchildren spend more time on a computer and their smart phone with each passing year.

If news breaks around town, or if there is a big rivalry game going on, today’s generation doesn’t want to wait a day to read about it. They want to know — now — what happened, or is happening, in the game.

News gathering is evolving. Not that many years ago, the news world revolved around getting stories ready for either a morning or afternoon deadline. By and large, that deadline restriction is going away and being replaced with a reporter with a laptop or cell phone whose mission is to get the story posted online while, in many cases, the incident is still unfolding.

As members of an older generation, many of us sit back and talk about how we love our daily paper and wish that things could revert back to the way they were in the “old days.” Yet, a majority of us are out perusing the web and looking for the latest news on our iPads and Smart Phones, just like our kids and grandchildren.

We need to face facts. The Internet gives us amazing possibilities that just do not exist with a paper product. From my standpoint, I love the fact that I can showcase more photographs from an event than just one or two that we can get in the paper.

Advertisers have so many more options these days. In addition to the traditional newspaper, web-based ads have brighter, more vibrant color. They can flash or scroll or rotate, the possibilities are nearly endless.

I don’t mean to sound like I wish to hasten the demise of a paper newspaper. I hope that they, and especially ours, are in your hands for many years to come.

I do hope that any of you out there who might be scoffing at the newfangled technology that is over-taking, or possibly taking over, our world, will look at the changes and give them a chance.

From our standpoint, we are the same dedicated staff, working to bring you news as accurately and promptly as possible. Learning about and embracing the web is just one more way we can help you stay informed.

As they would probably say in England … “The newspaper is dead. Long live the newspaper.”

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