Rupert Murdoch, once described newspapers as the industry’s rivers of gold—but, as he said last year, “Sometimes rivers dry up.”
Newspapers from its very early stage have held a mirror to the society. They have held government and companies to account. They set the news agenda for the rest of the media.Newspapers play an important role in defining public perception of events, culture, society and other issues at stake.
The media industry in India saw an extremely humble beginning with the development of the Indian Press even before independence. It has witnessed a sea change after the economic liberalization of 1991 with western media making a foray in the Indian market. Compared to many other developing countries, the Indian press flourished and depicted a large degree of freedom in its working .In 1950 there were 214 daily newspapers, with 44 in English and the rest in Indian languages .By 1990 the number of daily newspapers had grown to 2,856, with 209 in English and 2,647in indigenous languages. The expansion of literacy and the spread of consumerism during the1980s fuelled the rapid growth of news weeklies and other periodicals.
But , with the advent of digitization and technological boom, the print media , especially the newspapers , have taken a backseat . With a generation feeding upon the new media and mobile technology , newspapers suffer havoc and is foreseen to become extinct in a matter of few years.
Weaknesses that the press suffers from:
- As compared to the new media , the print is not fast in terms of news dissemination. For an event that takes place in the evening will reach the mass not before the next morning through newspapers. Whereas , news can be updated and presented in front of readers in a matter of few minutes when it comes to news online.
- Newspapers and magazines have a very short shelf-life , whereas , a reader can view the news online anytime and ‘n’ number of times , as the content is there to stay.
- The new media provides us with opportunities like FLIPBOARD , where we can customize our own content , which is not possible in the case of print .
- An online newspaper can be read more elaborately with previous references too , simply by clicking on the related link. But to do that with a printed one , prior permission from the librarian and other such formalities are required.
- Unlike paper , the web can add infinite pages and words. So editorially , you don’t have to stick to the point.
- A printed copy has to be purchased , while online newspapers need not be bought.
- Advertisers find it more profitable to buy and sell space online.
These factors have led to the gradual decline of English newspapers. On the contrary , regional language papers and papers for niche readers have gained popularity , because-
- They serve the local consumers , with specific local news that interest them , that put light upon their known surroundings.
- India is a nation with diversified culture and languages. National dailies and English language dailies cater to more broader mass with news of the world. In so doing , somewhere down the line , the regional language readers , who form the majority of the population , were not being served.
- Community papers cater to the news and information that members of a certain community would be interested in , which a paper of national reach wouldn’t have done.
With technological advancement and new media taking the front seat , regional language papers are to rule over the English dailies. In a country like India , the strengths of regional languages can never be undermined.
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