The Death of Newspapers?

Story by Connor Wallace

Due to advances in technology the idea that there isn’t a need for newspapers has become a common perception.  On Monday, Oct. 24, a panel of experts at the Hinckley Institute of Politics discussed the changes in technology and how those changes will affect journalism.

The guests speaking were Nancy Conway, Mark Jurkowitz and Clark Gilbert.  Conway is the editor of the Salt Lake Tribune, Jurkowitz is part of the Pew Research Center and Clark Gilbert is a publisher for Gilbert of Deseret News Publishing.  Conway responded to a question regarding the importance of online newspapers by saying “more information is better. We’d be hypocrites if we didn’t think that.”

Clark Gilbert did say that it’s going to be harder for newspapers to do the same amount of work with fewer resources.  He explained that people are “a click away from the best.”
His meaning with this statement is that for the longest time newspapers tried to do many things well in reporting or covering stories in many areas; however now with the Internet people are one click away from finding a story that is more in depth and has more information and resources to cover a certain story. The reason being is there are sites that specialize in a specific topic.

According to Mark Jurkowitz, legacy media are producing the majority of the content because they have bigger newsrooms and more reporters.  The problem is that smaller websites and newspapers are providing the content and reporting the story.  This means that these smaller companies are doing all of the work and not getting paid for it.  This has spurred a debate for whether these smaller media companies should start charging people for the information that they provide.

It was also brought up that not only should the companies that retrieve the content charge their readership but also the legacy companies that are taking the story and putting it on their website.  On the other side these smaller companies also realize that the legacy companies are putting their stories on a larger stage.

Conway pointed out that “the newspaper itself is far from dead.”  She continued to say that the Salt Lake Tribune is gaining readership not only through the online medium but also in print as well.  Conway explained the increase in readership is because the Tribune does have a legacy and people trust the content that the paper puts out.  According to Conway, “The Salt Lake Tribune is serving more readers now than it ever has.”

While there has been a drop off in the number of people relying on print media, journalism is thriving and reaching new readership through online newspapers and by maintaining their older readership through print news.  According to Jurkowitz, “The media doesn’t have an audience problem, it has a revenue problem.”  He explains that the problem is how to “monetize” the online aspect of newspapers.  While the medium may change, people reading the news won’t.