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6.1. Can newspapers and new media work together?

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In a world that is constantly changing and in which new types of media appears to emerge every day predicting the outlook seems difficult. In order to help forecasts regarding the future of newspapers and new media, their compatibility should be discussed. What is meant here is if they can both function in society but with different scopes. A few years back it appeared logical that “there seemed to be scope for both traditional and new media”(45). Now that certainty has let place to a real doubt on their compatibility.

In order to help determine the role both media can have a persona can be imagined. The everyday situation of a bank executive can be used to do that. When he gets up he goes quickly on his iPhone to read the last news of the world that might have happen during the night. After he gets prepared he leaves his house to take the train. During his thirty minutes ride on his way to work he reads his newspaper that he bought before jumping into the train. At work he uses the Internet to continue to stay connected and be alerted if something worthy of attention succeeds. At lunch he finishes the articles that interested him in his newspaper. During the afternoon he is once again connected to the Internet. When he comes back home from work he does some work that he did not finish on his laptop or reads a magazine. At night even though he still has the Internet at his disposal, he prefers watching the news on television.

In this example the executive uses different media to access the information. He needs all of them with different purposes but he probably could not do without one of these.

The reason is that the role they play cannot completely fill in the shoes of the other media. To illustrate that there is the option of a comparison between the use of newspapers and new media.

He uses new media in the morning when he wakes up. He wants to have a quick look at international information in case of something that influences the market has happened. In this case he could not use newspapers, because they did not arrive at his house yet. In the train he reads his paper. He probably could use his iPhone, but the format of the newspapers is far more comfortable and he finds analysis in the press that is difficult to have on the mobile Internet. At work he is on the Internet to have instant information. Here again newspapers are difficult to use with that goal. These quick examples show that for many people there is room for both newspapers and new media. Many readers are not willing to give up their newspapers in the print format.

The argument can be made that touch screen tablets like the iPad could easily replace newspapers because they offer the exact same graphics as the paper format and it is much easier to read on them than on mobile or smart phones. Even if this seems like a good point it must be said that many people do not want to take their iPad to a concert for instance or any other place where there is going to be a lot of people and activity. It is much more convenient to take a newspaper and then just throw it away when you arrive at your destination.

It appears that newspapers and new media can in fact work together as media. They are used in different ways and even if a few types of new media seem to be in good position to replace the newspapers for a lot of people this will not be accepted yet. In the long term there can be changes to that state though. Digital natives will not necessarily have the need to use newspapers like the older generations have nowadays.

45 Gorman and McLean, p.230

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