The electronic media revolution has renewed debate about print media's relevance. In reality, both communication forms have advantages and disadvantages. Print media reporters may cover subjects with greater depth than writers of electronic media. However, electronic media's ability to break news at lightning speeds is cited as a key factor for the continuing decline of print media readership. Still, that quality often leaves analysts questioning if electronic media is speeding up the superficiality of contemporary culture.
Print Media's Advantages: Content Quality
Amid growing competition from online websites and other electronic media, analysts argue that print media holds an edge through its content quality, which a professional editorial staff can produce. Newspapers have emphasized this feature in their digital subscription offerings, with a certain level of success. For example, Audit Bureau of Circulation figures showed that "The New York Times" boosted overall circulation by 73 percent from Monday through Friday--and 50 percent on Sunday--over March 2011, when it first launched digital subscriptions, according to "Politico."
Print Media's Disadvantages: Shrinking Audiences
By any measure, traditional print media's audience is shrinking. As content becomes increasingly digitized--and free--readers are turning away from print publications. Peaking at just over $60 billion in 1950, total print media revenues fell to $20 billion by 2011, according to an analysis posted on The Verge website. Sharper declines occurred in 2008 and 2009, with revenues decreasing by 17.7 and 28.6 percent, respectively. The trend has forced print media outlets to make major budget cuts as they struggle to remain relevant for smaller audiences.
Electronic Media's Advantages: Immediacy
Electronic media's chief advantage is its immediacy, as autocratic Middle Eastern rulers learned too late during the "Arab Spring" of 2010. Reports from satellite networks like Al Jazeera made it impossible for authoritarian regimes in Egypt and Tunisia to silence the truth, author-journalist Lawrence Pintak stated in a speech covered by Washington State University's student newspaper "The Columbian." Using mediums beyond government control, like social media networks, the younger, technically literate opposition was able to plot strategy and coordinate mass protests.
Electronic Media's Disadvantages: Superficiality
The relentless stimulation of electronic media has inspired studies to determine how it affects learning. In an article for "Psychology Today," David Walsh cites a British study that found frequent Internet users only needed two seconds to decide on visiting a particular Web site. The most popular sites featured highly relevant search terms, suggesting that our brains can evaluate information at faster and faster speeds, Walsh says. However, developing these rapid fire processing skills may leave fewer resources for comprehension and retention.
About the Author
Ralph Heibutzki's articles have appeared in the "All Music Guide," "Goldmine," "Guitar Player" and "Vintage Guitar." He is also the author of "Unfinished Business: The Life & Times Of Danny Gatton," and holds a journalism degree from Michigan State University.
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Electronic media such as the Internet, e-books and tablet readers may be having an effect on the print media sector. This essay finds out if there is any validity to this argument.
Digital media does seem to have had an impact on the modern world, both affecting the online world and the offline business sectors, as well as world markets. It has certainly affected the communications sector and so it is plausible that it has affected print media too. (G5lo, 2013).
Since the year 2003, the amount of printed material in use for recreational purposes has gone down whilst the use of TV and other electronic media has gone up. This may indicate that digital media is having a direct influence on print media. (Wala, 2009).
Children are being encouraged towards digital media because there is more of it and because it is easier for parents when trying to entertain children. This means that children will grow to love digital media whilst ignoring print media. This is going to affect the print media sector in the long run. (Farnia, 2012).
Print media is easier to use and read which may be why it has not sunk out of our society completely. But, the read availability, convenience and price of digital media means that it may soon replace print media permanently. (Withers, 2012).
Studying may always rely on reading material, which begs the question of whether print media is going to fall from existence completely. It would appear that the transition from print media to digital media has been a lot slower in the academic world. And yet, it is conceivable that print media will be replaced by more convenient tablet devices in the future. (Ezeji, 2012).
Data does suggest that digital media is having an influence on the popularity of printed media, and that children are going to grow up to be fond of digital media. Print media is easier to read, but that is just one benefit of print media, where digital media has many benefits.
The evidence points towards the fact that digital media is influencing print media. But, the sliding popularity of print media may be more to do with social factors such as children are reading less. On the other hand, the benefits of digital media do seem to significantly outweigh the benefits of printed media.
Even though the reasons for the decline of print media popularity are unclear, it cannot be argued that digital media is rising. It may be rising as it replaces printed media, or it may be pushing printed media out of the arena. The two factors may be completely unrelated, but given the evidence provided on this essay, and the subsequent analysis and evaluation, I conclude that digital media is influencing print media.
Ezeji, E.C. (2012). Influence of Electronic Media on Reading Ability of School Children. Library Philosophy and Practice 2012. 1 (1), pp.1-114
Farnia (2012). Print and electronic media feeding us with information. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.essayforum.com/writing-feedback-3/print-electronic-media-feeding-us-information-37965/. [Last Accessed 22nd August 2013].
G5lo (2013). Impact of Electronic Media on the Society. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.g5lo.org.uk/index.php/8-communication/2-impact-of-electronic-media-on-the-society. [Last Accessed 22nd August 2013].
Wala, N, P. (2009). Electronic Media Stealing the Print Media’s Share! . [ONLINE] Available at: http://propakistani.pk/2009/01/30/electronic-media-stealing-the-print-media-share/. [Last Accessed 22nd August 2013].
Withers, J. (2012). Print Media Vs. Electronic Media. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.ehow.com/about_5548825_print-media-vs-electronic-media.html. [Last Accessed 22nd August 2013].