Is print really dead?

I know many of you probably read this headline and thought, “Of course it is. Duh!” 

But before you close your browser, hear me out for a minute.  There is a good reason to ask this question.

I’d argue that newspapers still have a life to live, even in the digital age.  Will they always be around?  No, probably not.  But should every newspaper reporter pack up and go home?  No, absolutely not.

Fortunately for our society, there is still a need for the smaller, community newspapers.  We can get the state and national news from multiple sources, which is why the larger papers printing this type of news are losing.  If a larger paper has a pay wall, I can guarantee you that a reader will just Google the information and find it from somewhere else. 

But there is no real substitute for local news.  If Apex residents want to know what is happening in their community, who is going to tell them besides a local paper?  The N&O sure isn’t going to take the time.  People need to know what’s happening in their backyards, and the only way to do that is to get local.  And people love a sense of community–something a paper can create.  It’s nothing against big papers like the N&O.  They do a great job, but it’s impossible for them to know everything about specific communities.

Big media companies are buying up slews of community papers across the nation to capitalize on this idea of locality.  Warren Buffett did it in North Carolina with several papers.  We can’t foresee any adverse consequences from this trend yet, and there’s a possibility the concept won’t last very long.  But for now, what we can see is newspapers brought out of debt and media companies making profits.

So no, I’m not discouraged quite yet.  There is still a need for newspapers, which buys us more time to figure out this digital stuff.  People just want to know what’s happening.  If we tell them the news that no one else bothers to print, then maybe they just might want to pick up a copy.


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