There’s a misconception that the gradual decline in newspaper consumption means print journalism is dying, but, actually, it is undeniably transforming.
Notable newspapers, such as The New York Times, are meeting the demands of the digital age. These outlets don’t have to retire their web offset printing machines to engage their audience.
News consumers now view current news online via their computer, tablet or phone. With the click of a button, smartphone owners can download newspaper apps and turn on their push notifications to receive the latest events happening locally, nationally and internationally.
Digitization allows traditional newspapers to experiment with its features and ultimately expand content. This not only attracts more subscribers but further diversifies audiences.
Since 1851, The Times has been publishing ground-breaking stories from around the globe. It started as a penny paper with the intention of appealing to a cultured and intellectual readership instead of a mass audience.
The newspaper wanted to stray away from the trend of sensationalism other newspapers grasped tightly. In 1971, “The Pentagon Papers,” a secret government study of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War that former Department of Defense employee Daniel Ellsberg leaked to The New York Times, changed the newspaper’s reputation.
The Pentagon Papers won the newspaper a Pulitzer Prize in 1972. The prize is one of many the newspaper collected, as The Times has over 120 Pulitzer prizes. This magnifies the popularity the newspaper gained during the 20th century.
In the late 1970s, the publisher of The Times, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, used technology to expand the newspaper’s circulation. Sulzberger launched an online edition in 1995, and, in 2005, the publication welcomed TimesSelect, a subscription service that charged subscribers access to portions of its online edition.
Although TimeSelect was unsuccessful, the publication launched Times Reader, another electronic version of the newspaper that didn’t hinder access to portions of an edition in 2006.
The publication started a subscription that limited free access to its entire content in 2011.
This strategy to keep The Times alive and left journalists with promising jobs didn’t fail. In 2015, the publication surpassed 3 million paying subscribers. The newspaper surpassed 4 million subscriptions in 2018. The Times now has 4.7 million subscribers as of 2019, according to its reports.
The numbers will most likely increase by the end of the year.
The digital Times created multiple sections news consumers are unable to see in print edition. Some of the most convenient features on the app include Top Stories, Most Popular, Saved for Later and Recently Viewed.
Top stories allow a subscriber to know what’s occurring around the world within minutes. Most Popular grants a subscriber access to news that’s not only trending but credible. Saved for Later and Recently Viewed gives readers the opportunity to archive stories they find interesting and not have to worry about looking for it in the sea of updated news.
Some other innovative sections seen on the the app and website that aren’t visible in print include Podcasts, TV and video. These features attract audiences who prefer to consume intellectual, political or cultural news without having to read it.
Subscribers can change the language to English, Spanish and Mandarin, the most common languages globally. This draws more subscribers to the publication, making the publication reach a wide-spread audience that extends beyond U.S. borders.
Newspapers like The Times have always been dancing with the digital age while managing to have its own beat. Notable publications will continue to be robust because of its investment and contribution to digitization.
Most notable publications are on popular social media accounts to frequently engage and interact with its audiences. This helps newspapers reach younger audiences and allows them to see which stories are popular based on click analytics, likes, comments and shares.
Print news may be lacking interest, but digital news is here to stay.
Jasmine Edmonson is a 21-year-old mass communication junior from Denham Springs, Louisiana.