Do newspapers have a future?

With the continual rise of online news and the closures of many newspapers around the world, it’s important to ask: do newspapers have a future?

To save costs many newspapers have cut jobs, outsourced subediting or gone completely online in response to the growing popularity of online news.

Several high-profile journalists and academics have had different views on the outlook for newspapers.

Some say that it is a matter of time before traditional newspapers disappear, while others are more optimistic and predict that newspapers will survive through adaptation. All agree that we are in a constantly changing environment.

The Australian Press Council believes that newspapers are unique. “The special attributes of newspapers, their immediacy, involvement, credibility, creativity, consistency and flexibility of use will continue to ensure their longevity,” the APC says. The council argues that newspapers are “uniquely valuable” in presenting news to readers.

By contrast, leading international magazine The Economist believes newspapers are an “endangered species”, and will be extinct sooner rather than later. “Newspapers are on the way out and that it is only a matter of time before there are closures, with half the world’s newspapers likely to close in the foreseeable future because ‘business of selling words to readers and selling readers to advertisers, which has sustained their role in society, is falling apart.”

News Ltd head Rupert Murdoch believes that no matter how much people view their news online newspapers will always have a role and is more personal.

“In the 21st century, people are hungrier for information than ever before,” Mr Murdoch has said.

“And they have more sources of information than ever before. Amid these many diverse and competing voices, readers want what they’ve always wanted: a source they can trust. That has always been the role of great newspapers in the past. And that role will make newspapers great in the future.”

Defending the importance of newspapers, Mr Murdoch said, “The newspaper, or a very close electronic cousin, will always be around. It may not be thrown on your front doorstep the way it is today. But the thud it makes as it lands will continue to echo around society and the world.”

According to Julie Posetti, a Journalism academic at the University of Canberra, ” The future of newspapers is dependent upon their digital strategy – how they prepare for a social and mobile future.”

A street poll in Brisbane found a range of views on the future of newspapers.

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