London’s print media outlets have taken a hit through the tumultuous rise of social media and citizen journalism.
The Western Gazette has felt the wrath of the decline of print journalism. Once printing five times weekly, the 100-year-old student paper has cut down its production to two times weekly last semester. Katie Lear, print managing editor, was saddened to address her editorial bard about the slash of productions to weekly in the New Year
“With online stories, we can really pick and choose the media that we’re consuming. At the same time, you lose out on most interesting stories if it’s not at the top of your feed,” she said. “In print, you can open up the pages and at the very top of the page we have three throws to stories to see.”
Fanshawe College’s Interrobang hasn’t felt a decrease in print readership. Instead, Jessica Thomspon, editor-in-chief, says the weekly paper has seen a concerning increase in online circulation.
“You are completely bombarded with imagery, with videos, with tweets, with little citizen journalism snippets. Your attention span is so minuscule when you’re online,” she said. “When you open a paper, you get to explore words.”
Students have played a big role in the decline of print journalism across the Forest City. However, the campus papers aren’t the only ones seeing changes in printing operations. Last summer, the London Free Press outsourced printing facilities to Hamilton.
Dan Brown, Free Press reporter and Western journalism instructor, has analyzed an intergenerational divide over print and online journalism.
“We’ve got the older generation who is holding onto the print product,” he said. “Then we have younger readers… (who) want to know what’s happening today. They want to know what’s happening right now.”
Although a newspaper can provide daily coverage on global news stories, a few short clicks can provide dozens of momentarily updates on a slew of happenings. Nonetheless, print journalism gives a reader a physical presence of global coverage, reflecting a deeper connection between the reader and the story.
Whether it’s online or in print, the changing face of journalism is bound to bring a generation of people hungry for news.