Evolution and Convergence of the Print Industry- Precious Uwaya (654 words)

From the colonial times, to early twenty-first century America, print media was the predominant form of information access. Including breaking news, gossips, trends and opinion pieces. The print media once a dominate foothold is slowly dwindling with the technological increase. Despite the print media convergence with technology, its success in the future is uncertain and declining.

Chapter 12 of the text book explains that newspapers were introduced to the American colony toward the end of the seventeenth century by the British Empire. These early newspapers were usually no more than four pages long filled primarily with short news and largely geared to an elite and educated audience. The newspaper industry flourished when the Revolutionary War broke out and dozens of papers were being published as people’s curiosity for news with England increased.  By the time the war ended in 1783, there were an estimated forty-three newspapers operating in the United Sates. Technological improvements in the early nineteenth century lead to an increase of newspaper circulation. Before the late 19th century, paper was often made from textile fibers such as cotton and linen however the invention of paper from wood pulp created low-cost, low-quality paper and readily available papers. The rise of the paper industry made paper cheap, which meant that newspapers could be printed for reasonable prices. Prices so reasonable that in 1833, when Benjamin Day launched the New York Sun, he sold it for one cent an issue. An increase in low cost meant that average working people could buy newspaper which greatly expanded the potential reading audiences. The affordability of newspaper became known as the penny press. In the American colonial times newspapers started out as a luxury for the elite and educated and in the course of fifty-years evolved into a commodity necessary for everyday life, until the early twenty-first century. Competition from television, and other social media sites is creating an immense decline in readership. Below is a graph showing the decline of newspaper readership in adults.  Just in the course of 40 years from 2010-1970, readership fell 40%.


With the decline in leadership, the print media needs to evolve to survive this technological based world by converging with the technology boom. Convergence  is defined as the coming together of two distinct identities, which in this context, means the coming together of two different media outlet into one.  The print industry specifically newspaper have been very affected by convergence.  Due to the demand for easier access of content on the go, society has lost interest in classic newspaper leading to a decline of newspaper readership.  Which is attributed to rapid development of the internet, television news companies, and social media. The United States had 267 fewer newspapers in 1990 than it had in 1940. By 1992, only thirty-seven cities in the United States had separately owned, competing daily newspapers. Many newspaper have converged by shifting gradually from print to digital. Newspapers are struggling to change their business model for example New York Times has merge its print n digital newsrooms and the Washington Post has an online college.  Many newspapers have created available apps to read news on the go.

The Baltimore sun appears to use multimedia and use participation by enabling readers to communicate with them via twitter, Facebook, Gmail, and ETC and having an online app for easy read on the go and easy sharing.  The Baltimore Sun also has a talk forum where readers can place their opinion regarding specific topics such as the Orioles, or any other topic they wish to get off their chest. This is done because of the accessibility of social media is making it easier to access news therefore, the infusion of technology is being used to attract audience of all ages, as to decrease revenue loss, and complete annihilation of the print industry. Despite the changes being made by the print media to converge with technology, sadly it is only a matter of time before the print media is no more.


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