“The editor of a newspaper never reads it: he knows it’s absolutely useless.” said Mark Twain more than a hundred years ago when newspaper industry was booming all over the world. Nowadays the total circulation of all the world newspapers is over 700 million copies a week which is more than ever. However, publishing houses are skeptic about it. The industry has got too many rivals to prosper further on. In fact, very few editions stand firm and can afford a permanent staff of journalists working in different countries. The others have to fight for the subscription and make both ends meet. And the quality of information stands to it.
I would divide all the print media into three groups. The elite one is respectable newspapers and magazines, the so-called “world trademarks” such as “The Times” (including British, American and Indian editions), “Daily Mirror”, “Vogue”, “Glamour’, “Burda”, “Deutche Welle” and the suchlike. The second one is the thematic media published within a country or an area and devoted to some particular sphere. Such periodicals as “The World of Chess”, “Around the World”, “National Geographic” are the examples of this sort. The third group embraces the local editions within towns, districts, universities, big companies, etc. They observe local events and give an account of what happened in this particular locality.
The problem with the print media is evident: they are printed. That means they should not only find and select material, but also be typed, properly illustrated, printed, filed, delivered, sold, and later utilized somehow. At the same time TV causes fewer problems, to say nothing about the Internet. This makes newspapers more expensive and less effective comparatively. Another thing, the news if printed is always the yesterday news at least, and TV and the Internet allow knowing what is happening right now, so the name of the print medium (newspapers) may become old-fashioned very soon. Very few people read news in newspapers. So will the print media extinct?
It is early to say so. First of all, the majority of the world population has no possibility to use the World Wide Web. TV is a more dangerous rival, but here another factor plays its part: TV information is current, it can’t be stored, so newspapers give an opportunity to make an archive of events. And thirdly – many people still prefer reading. It’s a certain lifestyle – to read the morning newspaper with a cup of coffee. A newspaper is material, thus it is portable and polyfunctional. You can read the news in the Internet, but can you cover your face with the Internet when lying on the beach?
Frankly speaking, I’m not a newspaper-reader. I prefer watching TV or surfing the Internet for current information as well as for fun. Certainly, I buy a TV programme, some magazines from time to time, but I never subscribe for periodicals. I’d like to collect some interesting periodicals like “Around the World”, but it’s very expensive, and newspaper piles in the flat are the very thing which requires too much room and isn’t to be thrown out. Maybe, it’s better to pass to electronic forms of information not to waste wonderful, living forests for the sake of a doubtful pleasure for some hours.