print vs digital

The future is never certain and that is what is so scary about it.

Over the last 10 years, journalism has changed drastically and has arguably made it through one of the most difficult decades in the industry.

From shrinking newsrooms to loss of ad revenue, this decade has been full of hardship and adversity for truth-seekers across the nation.

Between a recession and the continuing plunge of advertisement sales that once maintained the media, newspaper newsrooms shrank by 45 percent, according to The Poynter Institute for Media Studies.

Aside from declining employment, a presidency that questions the legitimacy of journalism poses one of the most difficult challenges for journalists within the next 10 years. Re-establishing the importance of journalism and continuing to build trust with readers who may see the media as “the enemy of the people” will be crucial for the future of newsrooms.

Democracy depends on journalism and journalism goes beyond The New York Times and The Washington Post. It sits right at the very heart of our communities.

As technology continues to advance, news outlets, including The Vidette, are steering further from print and putting more resources and focus on their digital presence.

A reporter who was once required to attend an event, get a few interviews and then create an original story is now expected to live tweet, take photos and videos, create a podcast with an interviewee prior to the story being published, write an article, create an interactive and engaging online package and tweet about it all while juggling other assignments on a continuous deadline.

While major platforms have had success with digital presence, content and subscribers, local newsrooms are struggling and continue to report declining profits which is followed by inevitable layoffs. There are now fewer people required to do more work. These challenges are not just seen on a national platform. Many of the difficulties that professionals deal with are felt right here at The Vidette.

Over the last 10 years The Vidette has gone from printing a daily newspaper, to only printing semi-weekly and now only printing once a week.

The Vidette is almost completely run by students. Students create the content, write the stories, shoot original photos, design the very pages you are reading, spend countless hours a night fact-checking and editing all while balancing college courses on top of other jobs.

Although learning and growing, student journalists are still held to professional standard even without the same tools and resources found at professional outlets.

What you might not know is that students are also working day in and day out to sell advertisement for the newspaper — a key source of revenue for the paper.

Despite these turbulent times, there has been success. While the business model may not be perfected, storytelling is becoming more engaging, accessible and interactive than ever before.

In the next 10 years, this will only continue to enhance readership. Convergence is key to the future of journalism. Being able to tell a story across a number of platforms that cater to the need of every consumer is proof that journalism is not dead, it is simply evolving with the times.

During a time where everyone’s voice can be heard by the click of a button, student journalism will continue to be a voice and beacon of reason and truth.

GRACE BARBIC is the News Editor for The Vidette. She can be contacted at mgbarbi@ilstu.edu. Follow her on Twitter at @gracebarbic


IF YOU SUPPORT THE VIDETTE MISSION of providing a training laboratory for Illinois State University student journalists to learn and sharpen viable, valuable and marketable skills in all phases of print and digital media, please consider contributing to this most important cause. Thank you.

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