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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Face the facts: Journalism isn’t dying, newspaper are

    The Arizona Daily Wildcat would get more attention if we put all our printed newspapers into the Homecoming bonfire on the UA Mall. As we watched the decades of print journalism go up in flames, we might finally realize that print newspapers just aren’t relevant anymore.

    It’s almost impossible to be a journalism major and not hear that journalism is a dying field. With the prominence of the Internet, the print newspaper is simply forgotten.

    This seemed to be the case when administrators at the University of Texas at Austin stopped The Daily Texan from placing a news box in front of the Belo Center for New Media — the journalism building — citing concerns that the news box would prevent the school from achieving a silver rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. The school also banned the posting of banners, signage and other types of paper outside the building.

    It seems the mistake is already being corrected, as College of Communication Dean Roderick P. Hart emailed a statement to media critic Jim Romenesko saying, “We’re on it.” An architect has been asked to design appropriate boxes for The Daily Texan and to figure out where they can be located on the new building site. Because there were already boxes across the street, 15 feet away, administrators did not originally consider adding more, Hart said.

    But The Daily Texan incident is about more than green buildings and silver ratings. Administrators neglected to include a box for newspapers outside of a building dedicated to journalism. It was almost as if they had officially declared the print form of the newspaper dead.

    As part of a generation that deeply values the green movement, it’s difficult to defend a practice that is almost unnecessary when access to all the news is only a few, environmentally friendly clicks away.

    There’s always the “it’s nice to have a physical newspaper in your hand” excuse, but that falls in line with sentimentalists attempting to resist anything new just because it’s not the same.

    The only real defense for the continued use of the newspaper is that it provides a way of processing information that other forms of media simply don’t offer. It’s easy to skip to the good news articles on Twitter and Facebook, and it’s even easier to only click on the section of the newspaper that most interests you, enabling you to ignore the rest of the headlines.

    The print newspaper forces news on you. When you’re skipping ahead to see if the Cats beat the Cowboys this weekend, you have to pass through plenty of interesting articles that catch your attention, like this one.

    However, technological innovation will eventually offer that experience. The newspaper isn’t dead — yet. The radio was supposed to kill the newspaper in the 1920s. It didn’t. The TV was supposed to kill the newspaper in the early 1950s. It didn’t.

    But the Internet could.

    We can say that the newspaper is resilient and that it has lasted all this time, but the newspaper has never had to survive a lack of current content. By mid-morning, hundreds of news stories have already been updated online.

    Yes, the newspaper is dying. But that doesn’t mean journalism is. The field is simply going through a rough patch until tablet newspapers really take off, offering the same reading experience as the print product without the environmental waste, and in a much more accessible way.

    The UA is already giving freshmen and sophomores an iPad with their scholarships. Tablet newspapers are catching on, and we should be focusing on developing a tablet version of the Wildcat.

    It’s time to face the facts. This newspaper, and the print newspaper in general, are dying. It’s time to look toward the future of journalism, and it isn’t in print.

    — Dan Desrochers is a pre-journalism sophomore. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @drdesrochers.

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