By Juliette Arcodia
Word Count: 598
Newspapers have been an integral part of society since their invention. The earliest newspaper to date came from 17th century Europe but since then the expansion of newspapers has grown exponentially. In America, newspapers gained popularity right before the start of the American Revolution. The war may have had a different outcome had it not been for the information provided in newspapers. John Adams wrote “records, newspaper, and even handbills, which in any way contributed to change the temper and views of the people, and compose them into an independent nation” (Unum).The founders of this new nation believed that newspapers were crucial to the new government they were forming, a government with free press. Newspapers also helped shape America because they were available to all. The cost was affordable to the average worker and the publishers reached out to all Americans. After the invention of the Linotype, more newspapers were printed for cheaper. They reached their peak in the 1940s, but since the invention of television, newspapers have been in rapid decline. “The United States had 267 fewer newspapers in 1990 than it had in 1940” (King et al 321). Publishers have tried many things in attempt to rebuild the newspaper industry. USA Today was introduced in an effort to entice readers with shorter, catchier news stories. This newspaper still exists today as one of the most popular running papers.
Editors have been forced to cut the length of the papers, let go employees, and eventually shut down all together. “Since 2008, more than 166 newspapers in the United States have closed down or stopped publishing a print edition” (Greenslade). This shows the dramatic shift from print to online. Print newspapers seem to be a thing of the past and many studies show that print newspapers will be completely gone by 2020. In a study from 2011, 65% of young readers said they read their news online. There are many reasons that have caused this. The Internet has become more and more popular and accessible. The rise of social networking has allowed people to view news that their friends may have shared via these networks.
News online has even started to become more popular than news watched on a television. The Baltimore Sun, Maryland’s largest general-circulation daily newspaper, has adjusted with the trend from print to online. The Sun launched a website to keep with the current times. The website is very user-friendly and even caters to individual needs. One aspect of the website is the opinion section, that includes a section titled Readers Respond. Here readers are welcome to upload submissions that can later be viewed on the website. The Sun has even launched an app for mobile devices. This app can give readers updates on entertainment, weather, sports, etc. It can all be adjusted to your preferences. Since the launch of the website, The Baltimore Sun has begun charging users for the website. Readers may view 15 articles for free a month, but unlimited access costs money. Subscriptions are about the same cost of print newspaper subscriptions. The website also features many ads; above, around, and below the article you wish to read. This is not the case in print newspapers. Granted print newspapers do have advertisements, most advertisement companies have left the print newspapers business and moved to online. The shift from print newspapers to online news is due to the increase in technology. People no longer need to sit and read a hardcopy newspaper front-to-back. They are now able to browse the stories they want to read; faster, easier, and more efficiently online.