The revelation that printed newspapers are slowly disappearing is hardly novel. For years, headlines from America’s premier news sources have lamented the industry’s decline in readership and ad revenue.
However, it was only a few weeks ago that one of those headlines hit us harder than any have in a while. Next fall, The Post, Ohio University’s student newspaper is planning to drastically reduce its print schedule from five to one day a week.
The Post is among the most highly decorated student newspapers in the country and is traditionally staffed by students from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, which is consistently rated in the top ten best journalism schools in the nation.
The news that a small town Ohio student-run paper is reducing its circulation may not mean that much to many readers. Probably the main reason it made an impression with us is because of our Denisonian experience and everything that the organization has meant to us.
Some will say it is just another step toward the doom of print journalism, but perhaps that is an editorial for another day.
Either way, it is hard to deny that more and more readers are moving to the Internet. Journalism has tried to move with them and news organizations like The New York Times and The Columbus Dispatch are still trying to cover the overhead required to produce content.
We are now past the time when readers could log onto the Internet and find free content from these sources, and once that little box pops up asking for you to subscribe for all your news needs, many people shrug, pick up their phones, and go to Twitter.
In the context of our time The Post’s decision, it is indicative of (among other things) the choice the world needs to make: do they want journalism or do they want Tweets?
Journalism is far from dead. There are a number of world class organizations and individuals who work for those organizations that dedicate their lives to the pursuit of the truth in the name of journalism.
We see the spirit of journalism in the war correspondents who risk their lives to cover the suffering in Syria and we see it in the thought provoking columns on racial injustice in America.
Fundamentally, journalism is the drive to understand and comprehend the events that happen in our world, through a clear and unbiased lens. As long as there are people willing to undertake these endeavors, journalism will live on.
Just remember that though millions of people might see one Tweet, the person that sent it is not bound by the same standards or inspired by the same spirit on which journalism is built.