As a WorldLink research intern, I focused on trying to answer the question, “Is traditional media still relevant?” Through this process, I realized that I should not force my opinion on the readers of this chapter, but instead provide information to allow the reader to come to his or her own conclusions.
First, I would like to explain how I defined my topic. As I conducted my research, I found that there is no single article that defined “traditional media” as it is today. Each article I found simply gave a one-line definition, at most. Therefore, I have designed a personal definition, which serves as the foundation of this chapter: “traditional media” consists of the newspaper, radio, television and magazine industries. It is interesting to note that at some point in time, each form of “traditional media” was once considered a form of “new media.”
I divided my sources into five categories. The “Overview” category provides a simple and direct explanation of the state of news media in the digital age, as well as attempts to define the complex topic that is “new media.” The “Pro-Traditional Media” category consists of articles that defiantly state that traditional media is simply adapting to the digital world. In fact, I have been informed by many reliable sources that radio actually serves as a primary form of communication in various countries. For instance, radio is the number one source of information in Nepal because people in the most rural parts of the country can access it, and the cost is significantly lower than running a newspaper or buying a computer.
Naturally, the “Pro-New Media” category says quite the opposite. According to the articles I found, traditional media is falling behind in the media race. New and social media reign supreme now more than ever because of citizen journalists and Internet access. Even as I sit here in San Diego on my computer, flipping through documents published in Malaysia, I have to agree that new media definitely has the upper hand in many cases. However, the value of traditional media is noteworthy considering the reliable information it has provided to the public for centuries.
Subsequently, I progress into my “Comparison of Traditional and New Media” category. These articles allow the reader to look over a diverse array of critical arguments. For example, some view that traditional media is “out of date” and completely unnecessary in today’s world. Others believe that the two media forms rely on each other, both for information and for audiences. There is no right or wrong belief. Nonetheless, in this category, the reader is able to see the different arguments that are being made on this topic.
Finally, there is the “Effects of Changes in the Media” category. As traditional media is desperately trying to adapt to the digital era, it gives the impression that the industry is dying. With the global recession, advertisement took a huge hit and the news industry’s funding was dramatically cut. Many Americans dropped their newspaper subscriptions, in an attempt to go green as well as to save money. Therefore, people are losing their jobs as traditional media moves online. As papers shrink from daily circulations to weekly ones, the number of professional journalists working for that paper also shrinks. In the survival for the fittest, traditional media is sustaining the blow.
I, however, hold firm to the belief that traditional media can, and will, adapt. Newspapers didn’t fold when the radio or even the television set up shop. These industries aren’t going to die simply because something brighter, shinier and newer shows up. So in this digital age, I believe that, yes, traditional media is still relevant.
Kira Elliott, San Dieguito Academy
WorldLink 2012 Summer Intern