Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Technology Ruining Newspaper Industry
In chapter five of The Shallows, Nicholas Carr makes many points that I easily agreed with and could relate to. One topic he talked about that I found very interesting is how the Internet is changing our current technologies, and in this case I am focusing on the newspaper industry. Carr states that the effects of the Internet have never been “so unsettling as in the newspaper industry, which faces particularly severe financial challenges” (93). This is true; just as any other industry in the past, the newspaper industry has had its periods of success and bust; however, the newspaper industry may be facing its worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.
Carr talks about how readers and advertisers have switched to their new “medium of choice”: the Net. For so many years, the newspaper industry faced no competition. They were able to charge money for advertisements and such; but with the new media sources on the rise, the newspaper industry continues to tumble. With the surging online sites, most individuals prefer a service at no charge. Websites such as Google, and Yahoo News are even receiving more of an audience compared to actual newspaper websites. This is also hurting the jobs of editors who work for newspapers. Websites such as Google, AOL, and Yahoo often use information from other websites or blogs instead of the use of editors.
My stepfather has experienced this first hand. He has worked at the Boston Globe for over thirty years. I remember in 2009, my mother explaining to me how his job was in jeopardy because the New York Times was threatening to shut the Boston Globe down unless they agreed to twenty-million in concessions. This included pay cuts, the end of pension contributions, and the elimination of lifetime job guarantees. Many of these lifetime guaranteed jobs were promised for veteran employees. Although much of the decline can be pointed towards Internet usage, the newspaper industry has been also struck with the recession. My stepdad had been forced to move from his current location, the North Billerica printing plant, to Boston. While over fifty full-time jobs were cut, he is now forced to commute to Boston every day in order to keep his job. The threat the Boston Globe is facing corresponds with many of the points Carr talks about. Carr lists some of America’s newspapers, which actually fall into the top twenty printed newspapers. The Boston Globe could end up filing for bankruptcy or decide to invest solely into its website. If large, thriving cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Minneapolis are struggling in the newspaper industry, it is only imaginable what could happen to smaller, local newspaper companies.
I think it was also interesting how Carr stated many newspapers formats have adapted to “an Internet Age, a headline age” (95). Newspaper designers are strategizing to lessen the amount of words on a page, and create it to look more like a website. In hopes that smaller summaries will save the newspaper industry, something must be done. Whether it is finding a clever way to make more profits off of news websites, the industry must do something to stay in business. I believe that if technology continues to grow at its current rate, the newspaper industry could easily be wiped out within the next decade.