Is Print Media Dead?

Modified: 18th May 2017
Wordcount: 3703 words
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The print and the digital media have been in the forefront in acting as the social mirror reflecting on what goes on in the society. Thus when it is said that the print media is dead it becomes quite disturbing because traditionally it is known as the only tool that people have come to trust to deliver information in a holistic manner. Well, in the advertising world, it is assumed that the more the products are displayed in pages of magazines and newspapers; they are bound to be sold more because of the already built brand. Moreover, in the digital media one has to be able to access a computer or any digital gadget to be able to make use of the online outlets for what is current.

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In essence when it is said that the print media is fast dying, it translates to the huge ground that the internet has covered in terms of developing content in just a short while leading to the panic within the media fraternity (Stanley 2010, p.20). Consequently, the print media starts to lose its fervent readers to online sites for news and advertisement and still feels left in the dark because there is no clear path that they can use to curtail the transit. The real deal with the media industry lies in the much money spent in the required advertisement. It is quite cost effective to spend money on the internet than in the print media which required huge sums of money just to buy a small advertising space such as those seen for obituaries.

The speed with which the digital media spreads its news has set a new record for the uninitiated. The use of the internet in particular the blogs has defined the manner in which the news is spread. It needs not be official, but the effect that is felt by the print media is tremendous. With the advent of mobile phones, compact discs, television, e-books, e-commerce and the internet, there has been a competitive news dissemination process that the print media tries to catch up with through rebranding processes that promise a new experience. Nowadays it commonplace to find art galleries on the digital media something the print media cannot surpass considering its static nature. This means that the issues of globalization are catching up fast than wildfire as people from world cultures get to share information that was otherwise impossible with the print media. In theories that define the use of both print and digital media, we are to know what popular culture represents, mass culture and convergence culture all which influence the trends within the media fraternity.

The Evolution of the Print and Digital Media

Print media has come a long way with first newspapers and magazines being published as early as in the 16th century. Other useful print media resources that found their way into the market included the production of tabloids, flyers, novels, brochures, newsletters, and broadsheets which catapulted the spread of news to another level, at least before competition arose (Warren 2008, p. 24). As the ages went by, it came a time when the electronic world revolutionarised the manner in which the print media represented its news and advertisements. This meant that there was increased speed in the manner of printing and delivery of magazines and newspapers to the points of access so that the public can update themselves on the breaking news.

Their main role was to inform the public, educate the public and offer some entertainment as was evidenced through the production of comic books, cartoon sections, fashion sections and jokes columns. Owing to these roles that the print media played to the general public, there was a bit of a complication in stating that the print media is dead. This could simply mean that the all trusted point of information delivery at least to the general public was not good enough in its game. This meant that there was no use for the internal memos that are quite effective in delivering the message or even brochures that are effective in creating the right rapport with clients if advertisement is to be efficient.

The problem ofcourse started to arise because there were individuals who could not read due to low literacy levels leading to the smooth almost unnoticed transition to the electronic media such as televisions and radio which could present information in audio and visuals. This showed the viewer and listener that the message was understood when there is audio and visual representation of the news (Carrie 2009, p.11). However, the cheap manner of producing print media proved that there was going to be sustainability in the industry of news and advertisement production hence limiting the rapid spread of the electronic media. This meant that the coexistence of the print media and the electronic media triggered the onslaught from the digital media which could present the best of both the print and electronic media.

The significance of the print media is in the category where it is able to provide jobs to the masses who are employed as journalists in various capacities of the print production. As the competition becomes rife from the digital it becomes apparent that the resource persons who facilitate production and distribution will become obsolete leading to lose of jobs and livelihood. When it became clear that analogue data can be converted to digital data through the sampling process that uses binary codes, a number of organizations that had specialized in print media rushed to take advantage of the emerging technologies. The problem with this transition is that they were digging their own grave through a technological onslaught that meant what they could reproduce and sell was easily accessed through the simple click of a button. In the early 1990s, the digital transition was catching up in a slowed pace albeit the slow adoption that was attributed to database building.

When finally the World Wide Web was created the internet became a culturally strong tool in dissemination of information due to not only easy manipulation of the information but rather the wide area that was seemingly covered. The impact of the mass production and availability of cellular phones, computers and game consoles ensures that people got their information and entertainment from the comfort of their homes leading to the evolution of the computer age. The point that this kind of information delivery becomes a killer for the print media is that it can be cheaper to maintain and has the ability to sometime deliver information almost free of charge to the readers. Moreover, it is now possible to produce the same information in the print media in the internet portals which represents a typical digital outlet.

Theories Emanating from the Media Fraternity

Certain trends are created through the media that include fashion, technology and politics which has led to a revolution in the usage of the media as a tool. This can not be achieved without establishing the theories that have led to the revolution as we see it. To have a smooth transition from the traditional to the new era of media liberalism, we have to give a globalization trends the deserved place in creating a flawless transition. The intention should be in letting everyone present their own news in the manner they deem comfortable for them with forgetting that each and every channel should compliment the other (Al 2002, p.33).

For instance we cannot say that the digital media can replace the print wholly but can be a good supplementing channel which to others could seem credible to have the necessary information. Moreover, the traditional sense of the print media can very much employ the latest technologies such as cellular phones and the internet in collecting information which is then presented in print. When news is collected and a complete overhaul of the truth is made, then the slow pace of the print media can be better than the quick always changing or edited digital media information. Below we look at the conceptualized theories that can be quite helpful in analysing media transitions.

When terms such as popular culture are mentioned what comes to mind first is the mass media in connection with the entertainment scene. The truth is that the media has a lot to do with what culture becomes hence this could principally mean that this is culture taken up by the masses to signify those common attributes. Almost all the time the media both in print and digital has a huge role to play in popularising something. In the modern era when something is produced and commercialised through the media to become like a culture, then the media finds its position in the world of setting trends. The youth who pick the trends are considered as seeking an alternative to what they perceive as authentic culture. The popularisation of this societal transition was more profoundly supported by the electronic media which quickly made way for the pure digital media of the new millennium. Through the use of the strong media tools it is possible to pick popular elements in some segment of information and use it in hypnotising the general public in a make believe trance. Thus this has been seen as a foundation through which the effects of globalization its terms of sharing information became evident thus setting a common underrating of some situations.

Secondly we look at the mass culture theory which described elements that belonged to the early up to middle 1900s. The evolution of the mass media brought about the existence of a common avenue through which people could congregate and share some cultural practices (Robert 2010, p.5). The cultural practices that were mostly shared included music and art in all its forms leading to a huge following to certain trends that were set by the emerging media tool. In essence the liberal outlook of things is brought into the fore a fact that calls for the cultural practices that emanate from the daily interactions made by people. Therefore, this presents the platform on which popular culture can be mounted to bring out the influence of the media in its various stages of development. As the media takes up its role as the sole provider of information, it collects as much information as possible to the extent that the quantity surpasses the quality leading to mass consumption of the attributes that are assumed to be correct.

Lastly we look at the theory of convergence culture which creates the outpost at which the traditional and new media interact. For convergence to take place there has to be a high level of interaction within the media fraternity. For example it is important to understand the proper mixing of the professions that get interconnected in media. Professions such as journalism, marketing, communications, advertising and pubic relations have their special contribution towards the continuity of the mass media activities. The significance of all this is that there is at some point a well meaning clash of various cultures which have to be harnessed to bring out the positivity of the mass media contributions. Therefore, through convergence of cultures a new consensus is achieved giving the new trends that the advancing technologies present a harmonious outlook.

The Digital Media and its Revolutionary Trends

The digital media has come of age in terms of the trend setting innovations which bring about the cutting edge above the rest. The internet, the World Wide Web and cellular phones have galvanised the attacking echelons which have contested the place of the print media (Henry 2009, p.102). However, the main story is told through the efficiency with which the information is delivered. For example, there can be a curtailment in the print media through occurrences like war and natural disasters that can leave the only point of information reference being the digital media. This means that even the most illiterate person can be able to use a cellular phone to communicate as it shall be by word of mouth.

At the same time, it is possible to use equipments such as computers through the internet to convey messages or news after all other physical infrastructures have been cut off. Moreover, journalists who have been sent to hardship areas such as war torn countries cannot convey their messages conveniently if the digital media was not made possible. Although, information compiled from the digital media can be used to string stories for the print media, it should be stated here that the deserved accolades should be forwarded to the right function performed.

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The competition or replacement of the print media by the digital media notwithstanding, it should be stated that the contribution of the cellular phones has been outstanding when it comes to news gathering and delivery. Other than providing an audio platform for which delivery of information can be performed, it also provides the internet application which can be launched from any place. Thus for applications such as those for audio delivery, it is quite normal to find those who cannot be able to read comfortably delivering or receiving information as they can understand their dialect ( Warren 2008, p.32). On platforms such as the internet, there are trend setting social network innovations that have made globalization a reality.

The social networks that include twitter and Facebook have completely revolutionised the informal avenues of delivering news. With the number of computers and cellular phones increase so does the quick spread of information at just the click of a button within the network. Another advantageous point of view that the digital media has brought about is the delivery of information in real time. For instance, it is possible to vote in your country’s general election while still in another country and the cast vote be reflected immediately on tallying screens in the home country. This has contributed tremendously in the tallying process which takes a short while for the whole country.

The Print Media and its Credible Contributions

The truth as it stands is that the print media cannot be declared dead regardless of the popularity that the digital media has come with. The culture that has completely stuck on instigates that people have to buy magazines and newspapers in order to have the feel of the content on a daily basis regardless of the day of print. Moreover, there are print media outlets that have created a brand of their own to the extent that the confidence levels with readers are high. Here we mention the significance of fashion magazines which have had tremendous competition from the bloggers who develop the same content on fashion and then pass it on the World Wide Web. This has greatly shifted the balance from the common magazines which have a long process of acquiring them or a long issue day compared to the blogs which make updates every minute something new comes out.

Even though the blogging has taken root in the domain where magazines had their field day, there is not going to be easy fodder for the digital world as the very magazines start a new rebranding strategy (John 2010, p.89). This includes the use of fashion forecasters who shall give the magazines an edge over what the world should expect in the near future with regard to fashion. Thus with such moves that are pointers to hyper-innovation, the magazine world will have the deserved chance for a breather in terms of having its popularity back.

When we look at the newspapers and tabloids which ofcourse compete for the gathering of news with tabloids inclined to gossip, it is common to find a more formidable experience. Unlike the fashion magazines which can be used for more than once, the newspapers have to serve their purpose and then get discarded. But with the same application as is done in the magazines, innovation is the key word. Most newspapers have turned to the use of research articles that act as a source of information other than the news to give the reader the much needed peripheral information.

The reason we say that the print media cannot be dead is with reference to the brands or household names that the newspapers created long before the advent of the digital media. On the other hand, it can be said that the print media brought the need to have high literacy levels which enabled many people to read for themselves the information in the newspapers. In reality the culture of reading as we know it was started by the print media hence catapulting the interest among readers to a whole new level (Carrie 2009, p.96). Therefore, in comparison with the digital media, the print media has a relatively low cost of acquisition which keeps people glued to it. The hustle that goes with acquiring a computer and the internet server requires a lot of money which most people cannot be able to raise of even sustain an already installed computer. Thus for this reason one can find the convenience of the print media more appealing than the digital media.

The advent of new technology especially that points to the digital media has not hampered the originality of the print media which is considered inferior to the accolades that the digital media has. Nevertheless, the print media remains a pivotal segment in the mass media because of the variety it is able to present. If we say that the newspapers, novels, magazines, brochures and flyers belong to the print media, then we can possibly say that the information carried therein is quite varied. The information can be conveniently divided into the educative or classified as entertainment (Al 2002, p.62). When books or novels are referred to in the print media, it becomes apparent on the role that they play in the continuity of knowledge that concerns history, culture, politics and scientific discourse among other topical issues that are worthy mentioning in books.

When it comes to magazines, their contribution in various subjects in society is quite vast. Their significance is seen through the commitment that they put into making credible research topics reach the reader in a well compiled booklet. In the process of offering this, the magazines provide the latest in life trends and common problems that act as feature stories which the digital media cannot be able to compile and distribute accordingly. Furthermore, newspapers have their irreplaceable place in the mass media because they are well placed to provide the harmony required in news delivery. They make regular updates in terms of advertisements, news delivery and informative articles that are guaranteed over certain periods of the day.

Through the surveys that have been done over the years since the inception of the print media it has been established that a wide audience is reached through its segments of message delivery. Although the oral culture of spreading information got eliminated in the process, it has been found that those who can read are many in terms of wide area coverage compared to the spread of the digital media. Moreover, the print media has the tendency to finance itself when it comes to news preparation and delivery. By this we mean that the advertisements that are used can be effectively used to reach a wide area through the print media which shall translate to a cost effective scheme when payment starts.

Whenever there is something new that is in the offing, it is easy to popularize it using the print media than digital because it has the upper hand of covering a wide area and in a memorable newspaper pullout (Stanley 2010, p.41). Therefore, we cannot say that the digital media has killed the print media passé but rather there is a mutual coexistence that makes them seem as complimenting the other. It can be seen that the digital media can distribute its news on a daily basis and free of charge but still we should be informed that the role is supplementary due to the longevity in the print media that can act as a reference points.

Another factor to consider while looking at the sustainability of the print media is that large team that is involved in the delivery of information. For instance, whereas the digital media world may not require a specialised team to collect and edit the news accurately, the same cannot be said for the print media. The vastness of the team that is involved in creating a magazine or newspaper makes the print media not to be just willed away.

The entire team comprises of the management, publisher, editor, editorial team, designer, reporter, the advertising staff and the circulation staff who act as an ensemble that can lead to the success of the print media (John 2010, p.55). This kind of arrangement encourages creativity especially within the advertising segment due to the large team that is availed to offer ideas. When production of the different segments of the print media have been finalised, it is time to compete for the same market that can read and the choice can be greatly influenced by the age of the reader. Otherwise, if any competition is evidenced it is considered to be part of the growth that is required in the industry which calls for a higher level of cooperation.


The media either classified as print or digital has its role to play in gathering and delivery of information. But delving into the statement that the print media is dead can be untrue to the extent where we study the role of each of the presented types of media. Though traditionally the print media had a huge chunk from where to get its users, it is no longer the case hence leading to the doubts as to its survival. The ease with which information on the digital systems can be accessed has led to the revolutionised speeds that breaking news can be delivered within a networked sharing platform. However, the authenticity of the print media should remain intact in the face of such competition which should be seen as supplementary rather than acting as a replacement. At least the print media should have its place reserved because it still reaches to the masses even to the most obscure of places.


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