By: Nadiyah Suleiman, Page Editor
The Lasso recently published its first online issue; no physical paper was printed and delivered, and all stories were placed exclusively online. This change is inevitable; we live in a fast-paced technological age that is desperately trying to keep up with the demand for information that is easily accessible. This is nothing new. The Internet has been quickly taking over the many different forms of physical media for some time now. The demand for e-books has increased, Netflix is slowly replacing television, and online classes have also decreased the need for face-to-face classes.
This shift to online journalism, however, has come with its own set of issues and complications. There is this idea that because newspapers are transferring their content online that journalism is a dying art. This attitude fails to recognize the shift for what it is: a change, not an abolishment. Journalism is not dying, it is simply evolving. There will always be news to report and information to share; just because the medium in which it is conveyed changes does not make journalism or news in general less important.
This change has caused a shift in newspapers across the country, and not always in a positive way. In 2014, The New York Times removed around 100 jobs, laying off about 7.5 percent of its total staff. However, according to the Wall Street Journal: “The New York Times Co. paper has since continued to hire, with a focus on graphic artists, video producers and digitally focused staff, and its overall head count is currently around 1,300, or roughly where it was before the cuts, a spokeswoman said.”
Relying solely on online news is in our near future, and with that reliance, journalists face new responsibilities. The Internet is a vast place, and the content is endless; online news is now competing with tweets and Facebook posts that do not always provide reliable information. Other than fighting against these outlets, online journalism has embraced them, resulting in a constant stream of news at all times. While the content presented in a newspaper is limited by cost and space, an online outlet has the potential to provide not only endless space for unlimited content but also provides new way of presenting information. Twitter can provide small snippets of news stories or updates on a preexisting story; podcasts could potentially be used to take a closer look at a topic; photo galleries allow viewers to access more visual content.
Not only is this shift difficult for those in the industry but readers have also seen their fair share of complications. It becomes infinitely more complex for readers when news organizations join the endless stream of content on social media because then the line between fact and opinion becomes blurred. This can be liberating and confusing because, on one hand, readers are able to pull information from many sources and form their own opinions; on the other hand, this can leave readers discouraged making them avoid reading any form of news at all.
Despite all the changes and challenges that come with placing content online, the need for information and news will not die. Don’t mistake the death of print newspapers for the extinction of news. As long as the need for news exists, journalism will continue to thrive and evolve with time. And while the sentimentalist in me will always say print newspapers are better, I can’t deny the infinite possibilities that open up to readers and journalists alike when utilizing the numerous outlets available through online journalism.