Saturday, May 22, 2010

Blog - o - Mania

The fact that I can read my classmates blogs online is in a sense confirming my argument that print media are dying out. Nowadays everybody can create his own blog and write whatever he feels like. There is so much to read online, why bother to buy a newspaper or a magazine when people will inform you with their blogs? At least we save some trees by not printing out the hard copy´s of every Blog.

Here is some suggestive readings that crossed my screen: Martina Slozilova discusses how the in the past few years Muslim have been negatively portrayed by the media. It is in a sense controversial that a Religion that follows the Arabic concept of 'salaam,' or peace is viewed as evil and barbarous. The blog involves some personal stories by Muslim that feel unfairly treated and humiliated in a sense. Furthermore one can read about how Muslims being Terrorist has become the running gag of the world, serving as entertainment for the non Muslims. by Tamta Karseladze is concerned with the issue of the Internet presenting a platform to connect people whos intentions are not pure. The internet gives terrorist, or discriminants opportunities to exchange information of how to terrorize or even how to build a bomb. The blog also discusses the trouble we are facing with what to ban and what not. In a society with freedom of speech, we should be able to say whatever we want. in this blog, Lenka Purghart has presented some of the negative impacts that the emerging social networks such as facebook, twitter, or my space have on society. For instance the loss of privacy the danger of being followed by constant location. in this blog, Michal Zikmund talks about the dangers but also benefits of online gaming.

At last, Danijela Demarin discusses in her blog how Media have deindividualized us. How the modern media make us like one another and how they tell us who to be and what to do.

Monday, May 17, 2010


This blog, as a part of a ´Media Literacy Project´ within the course Media & Society, is trying to expose some of the difficulties and troubles that print media are facing at the moment and in the upcoming years. Some predict a radical change, that print media is dying out and only online media will take over, some talk about a coexistence of the old and the new medium, and others claim that the trend is going back towards the old medium, deeply convinced that print is going to persist. Nevertheless evidence speaks for the fact that print is dying out and those who believe that newspapers are going to survive are in denial.

There will always be a demand for information, there is just a thrift from where we get our information from, who produces those information, who checks those information, and how we access our information. The aim of this blog is to evaluate some of the latest trends in media, to assess how this change came about and what consequences it will have for us, the people.

Is it the End of Magazines as Well?

In the article by expert blogger John N. Pasmore, he indicates that when saying print media is going down, one can include the sections of magazines as well. Niche markets, such as magazines for African Americans, or Hip Hop magazines like The Source are sitting in bankruptcy now. He suggests that a print magazine has to sell at least 40% (4 out of 10 magazines) of its printed copies to customers in order to survive and magazines sell increasingly below this number. In the end it is advertisers who pay for the 60% of newspapers which are not sold, and with the current economic recession advertisers do not have the necessary money to pay for them, especially if the majority of magazines are not sold anyways. Many magazines try to make up the deficit by selling discount subscriptions, such as the yearly Cosmopolitan, which can be purchase for $16.96 in comparison to annually $42.00 cover price, but with little chance to succeed. Finally he notifies that magazines are moving from their printed version to an online version.

Pasmore, J.N. (2008, February 15). The End of print?. Retrieved from

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Newspaper is Dead – Long Live the Newspaper

Isn´t it in a sense pathetic, that this is an online blog, a new digital medium, and it deals with the issue of the print media dying out? I guess this thought wouldn´t cross most people´s minds because by now we are so used to reading from a screen, rather than from paper. The majority of information that gave me insight to the difficulty of this topic were retrieved from an online source and it´s not even surprising, is it? It has become so convenient to just Google what you need to know instead of looking through hundreds of issues of newspapers or books in hope to find anything useful. By the way, when was the last time you had a newspaper in your hands, and sat down to read? For myself, I can say I do not remember. Probably this will account for the majority of my generation.

Journalism as we know it is facing the greatest crisis since the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg around 1440. Today there are less newspapers being sold than at any time during the last 60 years (Greenslade, 2009). Great newspapers such as The New York Times are laying off hundreds of employees and cutting salaries wherever they can (MacMillan, 2009). Other great newspapers such as the Rocky Mountain News, The New York Sun and The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, have all closed their doors (Romero, 2010). At the same time readership in the United States has dropped from 62.7 Million in 1988 to 54.6 Million in 2004 (Scribener). That is a lot of bad news surrounding the newspaper industry. Not only that, magazines are suffering in the same way (more on that see post: Is it the end of magazines as well?).

How did all this come about? Here are some suggestions of reasons, that might have led the industry to this crisis. Owners aren’t committed enough, there is not enough hard news, current economic climate leading to disengagement of investors, and probably the most significant reason, the evolution of the internet. If news is available for free on the internet, then why bother to buy a hard copy? Furthermore the Internet is being up to date 24 hours a day. If there is some breaking news, the first place where you will find out about them is the Internet. The Internet simply deletes all time and spacious boarders and print cannot compete with nonstop news coverage of the Internet, or the Radio and TV. Another reason for the decline of print media might be the growing availability of information via cell phones which have access to the internet. We cannot say there is a single reason for this change; it is the result of all those events overlapping. Changes in culture, lifestyle, and demographics are also important factors. Newspapers have tried their best to approach their consumers. They have launched websites, or switched formats to magazines or such. Furthermore they have been trying to increase sales by including promotional gimmicks such as DVDs and they started to sell abroad to reach the consumer wherever he or she is (Greenslade, 2009). Despite all efforts the industry is in deep struggle.

Is it really the end of the print medium? Or will publishers be able to prove that there is a market for it? It is doubtful. Most experts assume that there is going to be a gradual transition from print media to online media. The young generation and people to the age of 35, 40 are by now so used to read the newspapers online that nobody will really miss reading an actual newspaper. The problem we are facing now is how the news is going to be paid for. Readers still expect the information on the internet to be available for free. There is tremendous financial pressure, so what needs to be done is the introduction of a payment system. There are two possibilities how to charge for online content, either payment of a subscription fee, or the introduction of a micropayment system (more on that see article below). The introduction of such systems has been long announced and now it is up to the big newspapers such as The New York Times to be the forerunner of such a change. This transformation has been long announced, so why does the move to online take so long? James Chadwick, director of insights at MindShare Asia-Pacific has the following explanation: “There are three main reasons: people, money and strategy. Few people have a ´gut-feel´ for making money online, they don’t have deep pockets to invest and there are few proven strategies to follow” (Chadwick, 2008).

If the current situation stays like that and news online will remain free of charge it means no good for society. There are 3 main sources of income for newspapers. Subscriptions, sales in kiosks and shops, and advertisement. With the current economic crisis, people are having less money in their pocket, and if they can have the information for free on the internet they will rather save the money and not get a subscription or hard copy of a newspaper. Newspapers were never able to live out of subscriptions and sales alone. The same reason for the decline in sales is the reason for the decline in advertisement. These days, companies do not have the extra money for advertisement, so that the major revenue of news papers is missing. And if they do have the money, they will rather spend it on web advertisement. Why pay a larger sum of money for a printed advert in a newspaper that would reach up to a million people (in case of The New York Times), when you can reach up to 20 million people with a cheap online banner (McChesney, & Nichols, 2010)?

Nevertheless, journalism has to survive, and it can´t be only advertisers who pay for it. If this would be the case then journalism would become more then ever influenced from the companies or other publics. There is a demand for news, which the raising online readership proves, and there has to be customers that value information and are willing to pay for it. We need journalist to go and dig out news, we need journalists to fly across the globe to find out why there is a conflict between India and Pakistan, and that will inform us from a relatively objective point of view. Also we need editors, fact checkers, institutional resources to protect the news from interference (be it governmental or corporate). And the digital revolution is not helping to fix this problem (McChesney, & Nichols, 2010). With less resources there are fewer real journalists, common estimates say that online newspapers can only support 20% of current stuff (Hirschhorn, 2009). Such a prediction would be devastative for journalism.

What would be the consequences of such a development? An annual report on American Journalism has published some of the major trends in media for the year 2010. The report finds that “even the best new-media sites in the country still have limited ability to produce content.” No wonder, if there is less Journalist and I doubt that the fired Journalist will find work elsewhere. Furthermore the report forecasts alliances between old and new media, which can be perceived in a positive and negative way. Positive, that the print medium stays alive, negative, that news diversification is not taking place. Next, the report found that “72% of Americans feel now that most news sources are biased and 70% feel overwhelmed rather than informed by the amount of news and information they see. We live in a time where everybody can create his own blog and post information of any kind, so the critical feeling of news being biased is natural since nobody knows why somebody is writing something, what his motives are, or who influences him or her. This means we can never be sure about whether our information is truthful or trustworthy. But the most striking trend of this report with probably the greatest impact on our news is the following: “Technology is further shifting power to news makers, and the newest way is through their ability to control the initial accounts of events.” This means that shrinking newsrooms force the remaining news publishers to produce the news stories more quickly and on multiple platforms. Journalists are focusing on bringing the news out as quickly as possible before anybody else does it, rather than digging for more information. This makes news people “more reactive then proactive” (Project For Excellence In Journalism, 2010). The authors of the book The Death and life of American Journalism: The Media Revolution that will begin the World again, have found that only 14% of the news stories by journalists were news that they actually unearthed through digging for information. Furthermore they found that large news corporations do more or less shred news stories from real reporters. There is often one author, who writes the news stories, and then other pages shred the news, modify it slightly, and post the same message on their webpage as well. Again this means that there are limits in news diversification (McChesney, & Nichols, 2010). Also the sources of news are becoming more official, and they can spread their message comfortably with an online press release. What nowadays journalists do with it is more or less only commenting on what the news source provides them with, the real digging for information is missing, meaning that the news source can influence how it is being perceived (Project For Excellence In Journalism, 2010).The end of print journalism will mean many things but above all, “it will seriously damage the press´s ability to serve as a bulwark of democracy” (Hirschhorn, 2009). What we have right now is very few independent journalists, and very few reliable sources of information. Naturally there is a constant demand for news and who is going to fill this gap? Possibly governments or government influenced agencies. This is a perfect model for a propaganda state. You cannot have democracy when there is no free journalist and people aren’t informed well (McChesney, & Nichols, 2010).

What needs to happen is the introduction of paid online news. Be it with a subscription system, with a micropayment system or with any other system. A democratic state needs independent journalists that are paid for their work. There is also another option. Robert McChesney and John Nichols are convinced that the state should subsidize news corporations. In many developed countries this is a common practice. Not in the United States though. If one could shift only 5% of the US Military budget to subsidy for the news industry, meaning roughly $30 Billion, we could secure independent journalism. A free society should pay its journalism (McChesney, & Nichols, 2010).

We must hope that some of the predictions are false, and at the same time we must realize that we must pay for our news. Nothing is for free, and the price of a free society is priceless. But is print really dying out? The numbers indicate that it is indeed. Most likely some newspapers will survive, be it out of nostalgic reasons, and they will coexist with the modern media. The online media need to take the responsibility that is being passed over by print media more seriously. There is always a positive side to every story; the positive point of view at the end of print media is that we will at least save some trees. The newspaper is dead – long live the newspaper.

Chadwick, J. (2008, June 16). Are Print media owners meeting the challenge of online? Retrieved from PRO QUEST

Greenslade, R. (2009, December 14). Newspaper sales plunge over the decade. Retrieved from

Hirschhorn, M. (2009, February). End times . Retrieved from

MacMillan, R. (2009, March 26). New york times lays off staff, seeks pay cuts. Retrieved from

McChesney, R.W., & Nichols, J. (2010). The Death and life of american journalism: the media revolution that will begin the world again. Nation Books.

Project For Excellence In Journalism , Initials. (2010). Major trends. Retrieved from

Romero, K. (2010, March 29). Extra extra: is this the end for print journalism? . Retrieved from

Scribener, E. (n.d.). Print: the death of a media - the end of an era. Retrieved from

Can Micropayments save the Industry?

There is a kind of contradictory fact about the current crisis for the newspapers. Although sales are decreasing, newspapers now have more readers than ever. The problem is that fewer consumers are paying for their news, because they can access them for free on the internet. People used to believe that information on the internet has to be free and for some this belief has remained to this day. One idea of how to save Journalism is simply about ”getting paid by users for the services they provide and the journalism they produce.” Currently there are a few companies as for instance the Wall Street Journal that requires a monthly subscription to view the newspaper´s online version. After acquisition of the newspaper Rupert Murdoch, believed he could abolish the company’s subscription fee, but he realized that he cannot forgo the revenue. Although it has been a rough year, the Journal´s website went up about 7% (Isaacson, 2008). On the other hand there is evidence that the subscription system does not always have to work. At the end of 2007, The New York Times has abolished its subscription system, for the hope to attract more readers and higher advertisement revenues (MacMillan, 2007). Subscriptions alone can’t be the way for the future. Even when buying a newspaper, one doesn’t look at every section. The same should be accountable for the online version of a newspaper. There should be some “iTunes- easy, quick micropayment method.” Former editor of Time Walter Isaacson says: “We need something like digital coins or an E-Z Pass digital wallet – a one-click system that will permit impulse purchases of a newspaper, magazine, article, blog, application, or video for a penny, nickel, dime, or whatever the creator chooses to charge.” iTunes is the proof that it works, people feel comfortable buying one single track for ¢99 instead of buying a whole flat rate such as Napster provides it. If we are willing to we pay up to 20¢ for a text message why can´t we pay 10¢ for a newspaper or a magazine? A micropayment system must be easy to use, and we could decide whether paying 2¢for a single article, or 20¢ for the business section of an online newspaper(Isaacson, 2008).

This would not save print media but it would give the news agencies the opportunity to stay make profit. Journalism should be valued by consumers, also because we need independent information. The definition of journalism is changing and with the introduction of micropayments, journalists will again be committed to write for their readers, rather than being influenced by advertisers(Isaacson, 2008).

Isaacson, W. (2008, February 4). A Bold, old idea to save journalism. Retrieved from

MacMillan, R. (2007, September 17). New york times to end paid internet service. Retrieved from

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Satire on the End of Print Media

This is a funny video from, an American news satire organization. It looks at the end of print media from a different point of view. If print media dies, what will old loons do with all of their hoarded papers? This video makes fun of a very serious topic. Nevertheless it implies that is consumers that have grown up with modern media will not miss printed newspapers.


The Drop of the Largest Newspapers

“US Newspaper circulation falls by 10%” is a statement that confirms the approaching end of print media. The Audit Bureau of Circulations found out that weekly sales of Newspapers fell by 10.6% and 7, 5% on the Sunday’s edition which means that the industry has sold only 44 million copies a day. This is a lower circulation than in the 1940s. According to the Newspaper Association in America the major reason for the drop in sales is the collapse in advertisement revenue. In 2008 the news companies received 16.6% less than the previous year, and in 2009, 28% less than the previous year.
To make up the loss of the advertisement the newspapers had to raise their price which enforced the dropping of sales. Furthermore less advertisement made the newspapers stop delivering newspapers to customers who live in outlying areas. Also many journalists have been laid off, meaning that there is less content in newspapers, so that the customers are now to pay more for less. On one hand, sales are going down, the content in newspapers is getting less, and prices for subscriptions and newspapers are rising. On the other hand the article reports about the increase in Internet news readers. In 2009 there have been 72 Million unique visitors per month, which already represents a larger number than the newspapers sold (Perez-Pena,2009).

Perez -Pena, R., (2009, October 26). U.s. newspaper circulation falls 10% . Retrieved from