With the overwhelming “fake news” circulating on the Internet, especially on social media, it makes sense for a lot of people not to trust digital publications. After all, anyone can upload information to Wikipedia. Editing software as made it extremely hard to know if a video has been “tampered” with. Most digital content creators do not need to provide legitimate resources, and even “reputable” news sources want to be the one to break news, that they sometimes jump the gun on developing stories. Not allowing themselves to cross check resources to make sure that the stories they are publishing are legit. However, digital media has many benefits that traditional print media cannot compete with.
The first benefit of going digital is cost. According to the Business Insider (2009),per quarter, The New York Times spends $63 million on raw materials. Not the mention the additional $148-$200 million spent on wages and benefits. Multiply that times 4 and they spend around $644 million a year. Although The New York Times is an extreme case as it is a nationally printed newspaper, other factors such as the time spent to finding the raw materials (ink, paper type, new belts, and waste toner for the printer, etc.) can be argued against the benefits of going digital. Many newspapers are now offering free content to its readers by having advertisers cover all costs. For specialty papers and magazines, such as The New Yorker, small subscription fees cover the company’s overhead cost. For the customer, there is also the benefit of having multiple information sources in one location. If a paper or magazine cannot be found at a local newspaper it is at the fingertips of the reader.
The next benefit to the reader is the layout of a digital paper. When looking at a traditional newspaper, you must look for a table of contents to find exactly where the content you are looking for is located throughout the paper. From a newspaper editors’ standpoint, it also allows for quicker proofreading and edit corrections. For a digital paper, content is searchable with the app or newspapers website. Digital papers also utilize and benefit from SEO to make content more accessible to the reader. Graphics and searchable words make digital content more interactive and attractive to the reader, than just black words on white paper. It also allows for real- time corrections for any misprints, recalls, or misquotes of a source. For a print medium to have to retract a statement or story, this can cause the reader to look at the newspaper as not being a reputable source. With a digital medium these corrections can be made quickly and efficiently without the paper having to wait until the next day before a correction can be made, limiting the paper from having to go into damage control mode. With the ability to make real time changes through a digital medium, this also saves the company money as it will not have to pay for reprints and already expensive raw materials.
Lastly, the benefit of a newspaper going digital is the benefits of being “green.” With all major industries doing their part to help lighten their carbon footprint. By choosing to go digital, you become a sustainable company by saving trees, helping to minimize chemicals from ink usage, and in most cases lower the use of electricity. Almost every company is encouraging their consumers to go paperless and/ or to automate everything because of the convenience of “set it and forget it” mindset. You no longer must find a stamp, or reorder checks to take care of monthly bills. When it comes to television, especially with the constant increase of cable costs, more and more people are finding their news and entertainment online. If print media wants to continue to stay relevant, they will need to take advantage of the accessibility and reach of putting their content on digital platforms.
Carlson, N. (2009) Printing The NYT Cost Twice as Much as Sending Every Subscriber a Free Kindle. Business Insider. https://www.businessinsider.com/2009/1/printing-the-nyt-costs-twice-as-much-as-sending-every-subscriber-a-free-kindle