Technology provides print media much needed boost

Cody Boyer

If you have made it to this page to read this column, that is proof alone that newspaper journalism has not kicked the bucket just yet.

Contrary to a great deal of modern-day popular belief, the print medium of media remains strong in a world that is quickly filling up with screens, wireless connections and instant gratification.

With changes in social media occurring worldwide, many jobs and trades that have maintained success for hundreds of years are being forced to adapt to new ways of communication in order to stay afloat, the most notable of which is the news industry.

Social networking applications, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even Vine are finding ways to ingrain themselves into media outlets, particularly in the United States.

Print media is still not only alive, but transforming and adapting to this new facet of journalism — the necessity of social networking.

Small town newspapers have the ability to dodge online features (yet, they should utilize them if they know what is good for them) because local community members and businesses can trust an entity that covers only the small area in which they live and work.

For decades, the printed news medium has been the cornerstone of journalism, produced on a bi-monthly, monthly, weekly or daily basis.

Printed news has a high price tag, depending on maintenance, circulation and other factors. In this way, the Internet has effectively changed the paradigm of reporting the news.

It’s made news both accessible and free, but in doing so, has allowed for the creation of more shoddy news sources than reliable ones.

As the new editor-in-chief of The North Wind, I recently attended an editorial conference called MSCNE13 (Management Seminar for College News Editors) in order to learn more about what I was getting myself into at the North Wind. The event took place in Atlanta, Ga., and even brought me to the headquarters of CNN.

While there, I learned that newspapers are still relevant and important, not just something you put in walls as an alternate form of insulation. As an example, CNN (which is primarily TV-produced) still contributes wire stories to newspapers like the New York Times.

While I wasn’t surprised to hear that newspapers are still striving — it is after all the industry I have chosen to pursue — I was stunned to walk into a four-hour seminar about how Twitter and iPhones are now priceless tools for a reporter and the success of a newsroom.

Some may argue that the dependence on technology we have nowadays might be desensitizing us, as humans, to learning things on our own.

Past journalists use to rely on notepad tablets and film photographer that had to be delivered on a mail wire back to the agency that would then develop and produce their story as news on a spread of newspaper.

I still love to use a physical notepad and don’t rely on Twitter for every last thing I do, both journalistically and otherwise.

However, it would be foolish to suggest that a newspaper, in this day and age, could survive for very long without some sort of connection to social media. Twitter handles and quotes can be used journalistically and sites such as LinkedIn have allowed reporters to network with other reporters.

You may use your smartphone to Snapchat friends, record a six-second video on Vine, to give a landscape photo a vintage appearance or to simply text thousands of messages to people all over the world.

However, what some people don’t realize is how a piece of technology like smartphones are now being considered a reporter’s best friend, next to coffee of course.

My point is this: when students pick up a copy of The North Wind or any other newspaper, I want you to remember there are things happening behind the scenes that are keeping that paper in physical form, able to be picked up by curious students and faculty members.

I am determined to keep our newspaper up to date with the rest of this world by establishing a greater online presence for the North Wind. With a largely new staff, we are aiming to keep the paper fresh by brushing off the layer of dust from our Twitter handle and posting video casts on our website, amongst other new developments yet to come.

Newspapers have not died or kicked any sort of metaphorical objects that are typically used for holding water.

I urge students and faculty alike to take advantage of what The North Wind is embracing — the promise of greater coverage through an online and multimedia presence, and the strengthening of our campus news through both written and technological means.