The 4th estate, which consists of all newspaper organizations, is governed by set standards and regulations; they are mandated to report on all events objectively, or so it is supposed to be. The fact remains that despite this being the digital age; we still rely on print media to a large extent to get our daily fix on various events, from those that take place in our local neighbourhood to events that are taking place on the other side of the world. Moreover, the editorial features often provide you with valuable information and opinions on a wide array of topics; some newspapers to combat dropping circulation numbers have even started taking to offering their consumers heavily discounted rates in order to retain their subscription. But the reality is that most newspaper organizations often eschew journalistic ethics and principles, in order to be the first to report on a certain event and as a result, they have been getting a bad repute of late. This is why it is important to take a closer look at some of the positive and negative aspects of newspapers.
The positive impact of newspaper
- Low infrastructure: Other than a printing press, dedicated reporters and staff and loyal subscribers, there’s not much that you need to put out a newspaper. For example, more than a few newspapers stated out in the basement with a hand-cranked flatbed press. With most of the media companies focusing entirely on digital media and social media marketing, newspapers are trying to stay relevant by providing their consumers with up to date news as well as selling valuable ad space on their papers. Bottom line, as the cost of infrastructure is minimal at best, newspapers are able to corner a sizeable share of the print media market and are able to stay relevant.
- In-depth information: Most newspapers or at least the mainstream ones do not just provide information to their readers; rather they focus on providing them with a comprehensive analysis on the same which ensures that the reader stays focused. This ensures a steady increase in readership base and as a result, the newspaper subscription numbers ramp up. Most of the digital media provide sparse information with little or no research being done to fact check the news in question. Whereas when it comes to the print media, with the exception of few newspapers like the Daily sun among others, most fact-check all their information, vet their sources, and even double check the same to the point that the news they print out is both factual and well researched.
- Low cost: The other positive aspect of a newspaper is that it does not cost much; other than the cost of the paper and the low infrastructure costs entailed in printing the paper, the newspaper comes with a low threshold cost. The benefits are passed on to the consumer and frankly, given the high cost of digital subscription; most consumers prefer to get their newspaper delivered to the front door rather than being emailed to them.
The negative impact of newspaper
- Speed: it takes at least twelve hours for the printing process to get done and even with some of the recent advances in printing technology; it does take that long to print the paper. Most newspaper companies print hundreds of thousands of newspapers on a daily basis and apart from the fact that it is a logistics nightmare; it takes time to get the format, the layout and all the features in place before the print order is given. On the other hand, digital media can roll out any news related item in a matter of minutes, so as far as speed goes, digital media trumps newspapers.
- Ads: One of the ways through which newspapers get their revenues from happens to be advertisements. With more newspapers fighting to stay relevant, it should not come as a surprise that an average newspaper can carry as much as 30% to 40% ads, in comparison to regular news features.
- Opinion: More often than not newspapers tend to swing one way or the other when it comes to the question of politics. As a result, most of their news stories are slanted in a certain way to swing public opinion towards one political party or others.
- Privacy: In their quest to be the first one to report on certain newsmakers, some of the newspapers pay little heed when it comes to the privacy of an individual and often junk their journalistic ethics to report on the same.
These are some of the positive and negative aspects of newspapers.