By: Eric Hickman
Newspapers have been the principal mass medium for the American people dating back to the American Revolution, and other societies across the globe. In its early days in the British North American colonies much of the newspapers were censored and subject to governmental restrictions. However, with the American victory for independence and separation from England, the newspaper changed drastically allowing the public to distribute opinionated articles to surrounding communities, lending itself to the First Amendment in the US Constitution.
Beginning in the early 1800’s technological advances around the world helped spark a growth in the number of papers available to larger audiences. Steam engines, the telegraph, and the Linotype were developed to increase the availability and production of newsprint and to destroy distance barriers all at a lower cost (textbook 319).
In America, newspapers developed from more opinionated editorials to informative ones about political and social issues. Nonetheless, the industry produced newspaper chains that took much control over the information exposed to the public. Newspaper conglomerates began to rule the communication world up until the second half of he 20th century, where newspaper readership saw a decline facing competition from technological advancements in the mass medium world.
Radio and the television imposed constraints on the newspaper and forced many paper companies to close. Radio and television methods of broadcasting information came at a much cheaper cost. These new mediums also allowed for easier circulation and ease for the viewer of actually consuming the information instead of carrying around large pieces of paper. Furthermore, the electronic Web was created that manifested more efficient and effective ways to spread societal information to the public. For example, Web-based publications eliminated large staffs and relied on independent bloggers. All in all, the newspaper saw its end in the mid-twentieth century unless they were to devise new business strategies to make newspapers more practical.
With the rise of the Internet, the world of communications witnessed so-called convergence. This is the interconnection of old media with the new. The digital world now permits media professionals to tell stories and disseminate information and entertainment through a variety of media. It also allows users to interact and choose what it wants to view.
The convergence factor became the slow death of the print industry. The demand for content has become increased, which new media can do with instantly updating news. Newspaper information cannot be updated at will or be reversed if new developing stories appear. In addition, newspapers come at a price, whereas people want free information from convenient sources.There is not much the print industry can do to compete against the technological advancements, and eventually the newspaper audience will die out. Nonetheless, it is up to these companies on whether or not they want to go online to reach viewers, like The Baltimore Sun has engaged in.
The Baltimore Sun is a prime example of successfully utilizing the electronic web to publish information in adapting to convergence society. All businesses should look to innovate, because it is very rare that company strategies last forever. If you look at The Baltimore Sun website it contains the information that it would in a print version. The perks of the online articles are that viewers can post comments on articles and interact with other people and their opinions. You can even views videos that heighten the suspense and interest in a story. The Baltimore Sun even has its own app so followers can get instant updates on news breaking stories or view articles on the go. Since moving to Baltimore I have started following The Baltimore Sun’s twitter account, and learn much about what is going on in the city. They tweet only important information, which is what I really want to hear. In today’s world the people have the power, and it’s the media industries goal to match their expectations and demands.