I read a blog post that correlated to a discussion that I had in my Digital and Multimedia Journalism class involving the evolving form of journalism and the inclusion of different media aspects that are now used to spread news around the world. The September blog post from Reflections of a Newsosaur talks about a study that involves the younger generation and how they barely pick up a print newspaper anymore, instead relying on the Internet and social media to get the latest news.
The study is quite interesting and makes a lot of sense. However, I also think that it falls into a category I like to call "obvious studies": this isn't something particularly groundbreaking, given the digital age that we are now living in.
The study states things that my class talked about and about things that are quite common in our society. Television, what used to be the main source for news, is now relied upon for minimal things like traffic, weather and breaking news. No one really sits down to watch the news anymore; why would they when their favorite TV show is on at the same time? or when they can just start up their computers or smart phones and get the news that is most interesting to them in a much short span?t
The study also states that most Americans, meaning the tech-savvy ones who are under 40 years of age, use a combination of new and old sources to get their information. To this, I do agreed but I feel that I must tweak it a bit to make it more specific--most American, who are tech-savvy, use new sources to get the latest and breaking news but also rely on old sources to stay involved locally and make a bit impact.
The perfect example is the growth of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Occupy Wall Street started out as something purely online; if anything, it's online presence has increased significantly since the media coverage has grown. The most obvious form is the Facebook page as there is no denying that anyone who is anyone has a Facebook these days to keep in touch with friends and family around the world. The young, tech-savvy generation that uses Facebook every day sometimes share links to news stories and links and Facebook is mostly likely one of the fastest ways to spread information in this age of digital plug-in. Twitter would be the younger brother: not so many people are into Twitter as they are for Facebook, yet word does spread quickly on here and it just another way to connect people together and share opinions (although there is a 140-character word limit). Yet another online form of Occupy Wall Street would be the Tumblr page titled We Are the 99 Percent. The page is simple: people write down their experiences and woes because of the corporate greed that makes up the 1%, take a picture (sometimes including themselves, usually hiding their faces) and post it for the whole world to see. The slogan of "We are the 99 Percent" has become a staple theme of the movement.
While there are several things supporting the idea that social media has caused a new wave of journalism, the one thing that has given me the most hope for the movement and for the younger generation is the creation of the Occupy Wall Street Journal. While the movement has a web page (and honestly who/what doesn't have one these days?), the Occupy Wall Street Journal is a print newspaper. Yes: A. Print. Newspaper.
This movement that has relied on the Internet to spread the word so far still believes that print newspapers still have a future. It gives me a bit of hope that newspapers will not become obsolete, that not everything will be technically-based and that there will always be a time when readers can literally unplug and find resources in things that they can physically hold and turn the pages to find out what they are missing. Indeed, the editor of the Occupy Wall Street Journal probably says it best and vocally supports my hope:
"Print media is still so important," he (Arun Gupta) said. "Having that physical paper is much different than seeing something online. This is a real-world occupation, not a virtual one. You can't pass the Internet from one person to another, but you can pass a newspaper."
And that, I think, is the key. Everything that we do, everything that we accomplish is something in the real world, not the virtual one that we spend too much time on. And once people take a few minutes to think about that, print newspapers are going to be just fine and the younger generations will learn to accept print newspapers as more reliable sources than anything that can be found and fabricated on the Internet.