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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Newspapers transitioning from print to online focus; new media lack credibility of old

The San Jose Mercury News was one of the first newspapers to publish on the Internet in 1993. The paper’s editors were among a few who saw that eventually, news distribution would transition from a paper-based medium to the Internet.

Now, however, thanks to the increase of technology, print newspapers find it difficult to survive.
Readers are more interested in getting a vast quantity of news instantly rather than spending time flipping through an entire newspaper that may be rife with outdated information.

The Internet has made instant news delivery possible at the expense of print publications’ in-depth reports due to a large number of people Facebooking, tweeting, blogging and posting online.

Furthermore, advertisers use more popular outlets of media, primarily the Internet, rather than advertise over newspapers that not as many people read or see. Combined, these have led to the downfall of the print newspaper.

While it allows individuals to gain and update the news more frequently—as evidenced by the extensive YouTube coverage of the uprisings in Egypt—the transition to an online forum for sharing news can lead to cases of misinformation.

During mid-March 2010, a rumor circulated around the Internet that WalMart was allowing law enforcement to raid and arrest any illegal immigrants found inside its stores.

This led to numerous individuals boycotting WalMart and although it wasn’t a huge impact, it damaged WalMart’s reputation.

Traditional news sources are laudable for their credibility and the rigorous fact-checking and editing processes that goes into articles. Internet content, on the other hand, is nowhere near as scrupulous commitment in its accuracy, as can be seen in the WalMart scandal.

This discrepancy is because there is not as much accountability from the authors who almost always have little accountability for their words. In traditional news institutions, writers, editors and companies have both their reputations and the threat of libel suits to incentivize them to publish the truth. In comparison, on the Internet, one can publish anonymously.

Students have all been warned to be suspicious of potentially faulty resources for essays and papers.
In the same way, individuals obtaining news from the Internet should be wary as well.

Information has power, especially on the Internet. Therefore, it should be carefully checked before being taken as the truth.

There is no doubt that traditional newspaper journalism is fading and transitioning toward a more online format. While this allows readers to gain information more quickly and conveniently, the trade-off is that they may receive misleading information without the traditional editing that all newspapers go through before publishing content.

For traditional newspapers, their only hope may be to place more and more content online and, aside from simply advertisements as the main monetary source, charge readers for subscriptions to their previously free online materials.

Those browsing the Internet as their main source of news should either stick to the online sites of traditional newspapers or trusted sites, such as the New York Times’ nytimes.com or the Washington Post’s washingtonpost.com, and to be especially wary of blogs or single-author sites.

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