What is the future of newspapers? When I heard of the word “future” in this question, I immediately sought the answer within my imagination. However, when I thought it over again, it is not like asking a child ‘what do you want to be in the future?’ The child would imaginatively answer, ‘ to become a scientist’. They answered it even without knowing the concept of what does a scientist do. If we want to respond to the question, it does require us to use a bit of imagination but based on rational analysis.
Recalling the way my mom read newspapers when I was younger, I remembered when she came back from grocery shopping she would bring a stack of newspapers. She would scan it and read the important news of the day. My mom was a slow learner of computers. She used to find it hard to get on the Internet and do some things on there. However, when she forced herself to get familiar with how to use computer, she built a habit of reading articles online. She began to search news stories by using search engines, read from major websites and comments from blogs and Twitter. She would no longer subscribe to newspapers and read them! What a big change for a stubborn 50 years old lady!
As for me, I enjoyed reading newspapers with my mom. But I was not focusing on the news, because I could either read it online or learn it through TV. I was more interested in the section of the Beijing News called Colored Essays, in which I could read literature proses, historical reviewed articles, poems etc. It has been a long time since I read a printed newspaper, because online resources are abundant and easily accessible! I feel most of my friends prefer online reading instead of printed newspaper. We are immersing in a fast developing and informational era. When there is a new attractive invention coming out, people are tracking it down and competing who can acquire it fast. We are no longer patient to wait for our old newspaper companion to offer us updated information.
I find this picture interesting. It looks like something we can only imagine in sci-fi stories. However, maybe the future will offer us something called “smart newspapers”, which are fully paperless but paper-like. If this happens, there will be a tremendous craze for people to read newspapers again.
Will newspapers become an endangered media species? I wouldn’t say the future of newspapers is desperate, but they do need to change their way of doing business. We are in a fast pace society. It takes longer for newspapers to type, edit and print out than just posting news online. If you are waiting to read the newspapers by the time it does come out, you will read a leftover. So, maybe in the future newspapers will not be news-oriented but instead will focus on other programs like posting continued stories from a bestseller, similar to The New Yorker. Newspapers probably will also save some space for announcing lottery winner of the week/month, and do a featured article for the winner. Moreover, newspapers probably will need some tweaks on their overall design. Attractive design can make people feel they need to grab a piece of newspaper and this can be a critical selling point in the future. If newspapers can transform their weakness to strength, develop some original ideas and display it appealingly for the consumer, they could survive.