Newspaper printing around the world has slowed down or even ceased to exist for some publications, but why? What happened to the daily ritual of reading print and what does the future hold for in-depth publications?
During the summer, no matter where I went, I noticed that there were hardly any newsstands. I remember newspapers being a staple of my grandparents’ mornings, along with coffee and breakfast. At the time, I was only interested in comic books and compelling headlines. Newspapers had a way of uniting people without having to say much. These days I can only yearn for the quick mix of adults who never forgot to grab the paper while rushing to work and wish I had adapted it as part of my coming of age adult.
Not only are the newsstands rare, but those that remain are filthy and decrepit, as if they’ve been neglected for years. The most reasonable explanation for the decline of newsstands would be the development of technology and social media. Publications that have been in print for over a hundred years now publish digital versions of the newspaper online and stop printing.
Most publications now only print on certain days, meaning there are no more Saturday morning papers. This is largely due to Gannett, a mass media company responsible for publishing operations in the United States. They recently announced changes to their organization that will reduce more than 42 well-received publications, such as USA Today, to newspapers only a few times a week. Unfortunately, publications such as the Kingston Reporter and the Country Gazette have stopped printing publications altogether. Since the pandemic, newspaper printing has declined rapidly, with deliveries slowing and journalists being laid off, leading readers to switch to digital publications.
Like most families, parents and children decorated the dining room with the morning paper: the mother read the chronicles and the way of life; the father read the sports, politics or business section; and children read comics. Newspapers were a way to reach a wider audience at a faster pace with front-page headlines, editorials, and advertisements. You might even notice later that someone has circled an ad or cut out a recipe clipping. That said, these posts have become a prominent pastime for creating momentum that binds an entire household and sparking discussions that allow individuals to learn from each other. Philosophers predicted that prints would have been eradicated decades ago, but these old-fashioned traditions are part of American culture and should be considered physical artifacts.
Many factors have led to print and publishing declining to some extent: namely, print costs and inflation, as well as lower reader engagement as technology and social media progress. However, a major concern is for those who are unable to adapt to rapid changes in publications. Older, less technologically savvy generations have a hard time understanding smart devices, let alone the internet. Generally, more mature people are less inclined to keep up with modern times. Additionally, there may not be resources available to make the transition to the eReader accessible. Newspapers have become an established custom from one generation to the next and must remain an indispensable tool for receiving critical information in an accessible way and keeping abreast of current events.