Yet again, another casualty has been recorded on the global media scene. The Independent Newspapers in the United Kingdom is about going all digital, thereby burying its print edition forever. At its peak, The Independent was churning out half a million daily prints and then it went down to an abysmal low of 50,000 daily.
‘‘There are not enough people,’’ Independent editor Amol Rajan wrote, ‘‘who are prepared to pay for printed news, especially during the week.’’
“More newspapers will disappear. I’m worried about the future of journalism,” Simon Kelner, the former Editor-in-Chief of the Independent Newspaper said.
Press Gazette research estimates that roughly 300 local newspapers in the UK have been closed in the past ten years. It’s amazing how digital is torpedoing print from right, left and center. The iconic Newsweek magazine went all digital few years ago.
Here in Nigeria, PM News and The News magazine have vanished from the newsstands and vamoosed into the digital space.
It is indeed a tough and rough time for print around the world.
Should media professionals be worried? I don’t think so!
We must understand that change is constant. It is highly imperative that media professionals get on the digital train. No need to fight it, just embrace it.
Media professionals must wake up to the reality that their audience have migrated online. It therefore behooves these professionals to see opportunity in this migration.
It won’t be business as usual anymore. Media professionals must put on their thinking caps and take a dive into the digital space to mine the treasures available there.
From experience, I’m certain that media professionals stand to make more money from the digital space than what was made during the golden era of print. Like I mentioned earlier, for this opportunity to be maximized, media professionals must put on their thinking caps and be creative. They must be ready to jettison old mind-sets.
What has made a particular newspaper the most read in Nigeria may not necessarily be applicable on the digital space.
Newspapers that will provide engaging, shorter, sharable and interesting contents online will win big and amass massive audiences.
Print may be distressed and on life-support. Junk may have taken up the digital space. But, in the end (and, very soon, too), only quality will matter.
Very soon, junk will give way to top quality on the digital space.
Newspapers that focus not merely on reporting events and breaking news, but go on to break down those complex figures to the understanding of the layman will win big. That’s why data and development journalism will flourish in this digital age.
The future of the media is bright. Be encouraged, fellow journalists!
Samuel O. Adeyemi is a Journalist and Certified Media Strategist. He writes from Lagos.