There was a time when the first thing any reasonably aware person needed every morning was a newspaper along with a cup of coffee. That was the most awaited moment of the day. Even if the news had been seen on the television a night before, the detailed analysis of the newspaper article gave most people a feeling of fulfillment and satisfied their curiosity to optimum level. The advertisements in the newspapers and classifieds were scanned and relevant ones underlined. The newspaper was a part of their daily routine and had become an inseparable part of the way of life. Today, we have entered a world where electronic production, distribution and consumption of news over the internet is reshaping the media landscape. Not only news, but the classified section has also been taken over by internet. The advertisements on craigslist draw more attention of potential customers and users than that drawn by newspaper advertisements.
The advertisers are also, therefore, giving preference to online advertising. Newspaper ads are fighting a losing battle. Advertising in newspapers and television is not only costly but also less effective .The target market can not be equated with the readership of the newspaper or its circulation since everybody may not be interested in the product or service being advertised. The online advertisements are targeted only towards those who have an interest in the product.
The mechanism of pricing also provides more advantages to the online advertiser rather than the one who uses traditional media. For example, the ads on google ad are priced on the basis of cost per click. And obviously those who click are interested in what they are clicking at. The advertisements on the internet are cheaper and generate less money per user. They make up for less price by the volume of advertisers since the number of users is exponentially large. More people now consume news from sources other than newspaper or television. The internet has driven the demand for more data driven news. People read real time news on the mobile phones, tablets and computers. They keep receiving it continuously on whats app, facebook, twitter and numerous other platforms. In a matter of a few years we may have wikipedia articles on disasters or twitter hash tag streams.
The number of traditional journalists too is gradually reducing and amateurs are reporting, producing , distributing and analyzing news on the internet. This has also led to the decay of the traditional agenda setting function of the press.Websites are available which give a detailed account of the subjects of readers’ interests. New.me a recent start up , filters through people’s twitter feeds and recommends the most widely used links from the past 24 hours. Bloggers have also cultivated their own set of readers. Online communities are developing watchdog capabilities like the ones practiced by newspaper editors earlier. The neutrality and verifiability feature of a Wikipedia article is a perfect substitute of a well analyzed unbiased newspaper story. Online communities are preparing news articles based on algorithmic choices, data analysis, information visualization, solicitation of amateur input , feedback loops with crowd reaction and automated production of data driven stories.
New York times has recently come up with a 96 page internal report which accepts the inability of the newspaper to adapt to the digital world. The digital companies like First Look Media, Vox, Huffington Post, Buzz feed are adapting in a much better way in building impressive support systems for digital journalist. They have learnt the concept of continuous updation of news as opposed to the traditional newspapers where the stories are updated only once in twenty four hours.
The changing scenario of the world of media and mass communication is of an unexpected and unimaginable level though it is not entirely unpredictable. Any revolution creates a curious inversion of perception. In ordinary times, people who do no more than describe the world around them are seen as pragmatists while those who imagine fabulous alternative future are seen as radicals. But during the last couple of years , the pragmatists were the ones simply looking out of the windows and noticing that the real world increasingly resembled the unthinkable scenario. With the advent of internet, the cost of online news production and distribution has become very low.It is not possible for traditional media to compete with the new form. This has reduced the barriers of entry for common man to be a journalist.