Newspapers have been in circulation for centuries. Ancient Romans produced government announcements and posted them in prominent locations around the city. In ancient China, news sheets were circulated among court officials to share government news. However, it wasn’t until use of the printing press became widespread that the new media of newsprint became available to the general public. The 17th century was the first time much of Europe and other areas around the world began to produce something similar to what we now know as newspapers.
Nowadays, many newspapers are still being printed on a daily or weekly basis, but publishers also understand the benefits of digital content. That is why newspapers are now supplementing their print copy with digital and interactive versions online. Should a person desire to read a printed version, he or she can do so. Others can access content online, which is typically updated regularly as newsworthy items become available.
Newspapers have frequently been the first source people turn to for information on various subjects, including current events and sports. Even now, despite the prevalence of television news, people still look to the newspapers for in-depth coverage of hot topics. Additionally, some newspaper content is mirrored online or offered in some other complementary form. For example, fans of comics in the newspaper may not realize they’re a major source of syndication revenue. In an effort to snag a bigger chunk of key demographics, comics not only are being run in the newspaper, but also are being adapted into “apps” that can be viewed on tablets, computers and smartphones to further their visibility.
The Internet may be creating a dramatic shift in the business model and the products offered by newspapers, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, presenting new opportunities for newspapers to expand on their offerings in unique ways. Many papers now enable readers to express their comments about news stories online, which fosters a global discussion that can bring people from various parts of the world together.
Newspapers also are shifting the mix of stories they offer to provide a stronger balance of entertainment, lifestyle and other subjects that are more relevant to people’s daily lives than politics and international affairs may be. In turn, newspapers are attracting new readers both offline and online.
Few can argue about the validity of newspapers for current events. Students exploring current topics and presenting them in school are frequently urged to look to newspapers for content. Editors are largely apprised of up-and-coming trends and are given first-see information before the general public, which they later share in their publications. Local newspapers truly offer the best window into what makes a community unique. When searching for local jobs, events or merchandise, newspapers and their respective Web sites remain a reliable resource for their readers.
Despite the ominous forecasts projecting the demise of newspapers, many publications are still going strong and proving just how valuable a resource they can be.