How long before print newspapers completely disappear?

I subscribe to our daily, local print newspaper, The Monterey County Herald.  Occasionally, I also read the Salinas Californian, the Santa Cruz Sentinel, the San Jose Mercury News and the San Francisco Chronicle (especially if I want to read SF 49ers coverage during football season).

Mostly, I read newspapers to keep up with local news, and to read about local events and businesses.  It makes me feel connected to my community.  Jeff also enjoys working on the daily Sudoku and crossword puzzles.

Photo by, and courtesy of Stefano Corso

My daily newspaper habit is one I will soon have to give up.

For one, reading news in a digital format is better for our environment (even though we recycle all our paper products!).   And two, with all the changes and restructuring we hear about in the newspaper industry, it seems that a move towards the digital-only world is inevitable.

For now though, I am not ready to give up my daily print newspaper habit, and cannot yet imagine reading all my news on-line.

I  also feel that my subscription supports the life of our local newspaper, especially as print newspapers make operational changes, or disappear completely.  Examples:

  • Denver’s Rocky Mountain News stopped operating in 2009
  • San Francisco Bay area newspapers that have folded in recent years include the Oakland Tribune, a daily newspaper that started in 1874.
  • East Bay newspapers like the Contra Costa Times (founded in 1947), Valley Times, San Ramon Valley Times, Tri-Valley Herald, San Joaquin Herald and East County Times have disappeared and re-branded as simply the Times (newspaperdeathwatch.com)
  •  The nation’s oldest newspaper,  the 175-year old Times-Picayune, recently announced staff reductions and a switch to a 3-day a week print schedule.
  • Some newspapers — like the Seattle Post Intelligencer — have ceased print operations and switched to digital, on-line ONLY format.

Retirees living in the Monterey Bay may prefer the familiarity of print newspapers, and that could keep print newspapers around here longer than other communities.  But, it is just a matter of time really, before all news outlets are in digital format only, and there will be no choice but to adjust to a new way of consuming news.

Blog post UPDATE: As of February, 2014, I no longer subscribe to our print newspaper…sigh 🙁 and get most of my news on-line and through other sources.  Getting an easy to use / easier to read tablet, and the increasing cost of a newspaper that seems to get thinner with less content contributed to this decision

I imagine my grandsons as adults, remembering the old days of newspapers….

Grandsons racing to get newspaper delivery and mail, 2009.

“Hey Gabriel, remember when we use to argue over who would retrieve Lola’s newspaper, and then race outside to get it?  Can you believe they actually printed their news on paper during Lola’s time, and how outdated the news was by the time she read it?”

To which Gabriel responds “Oh yeah….they read OLD news.  I remember you use to ask Lola for the page with the ‘funnies’ and those word-find puzzles too, Kuya Jun.”

It is sort of like my memories of changing music formats…are you old enough to remember the 8 track tape, reel-to-reel, and cassettes for the Sony Walkman or boom box?  Even CDs are fast becoming obsolete, with the advent of the iPod and digital music downloads.

Engraving of printer using the early Gutenberg letter-press during the 15th century – artist unknown, via Wikipedia

Do you read your news in print format, on-line, or both?  Is your local paper still alive in the daily, print format?

Related Links: The transition to digital journalism – from KDMC, Knight Digital Media Center (UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism), and Wikipedia article on Publishing  

6 thoughts on “How long before print newspapers completely disappear?

  1. Great article, Jane. By the way, have you seen the San Francisco Panorama — a one-off old-time format (with new content) newspaper that was published by McSweeney’s a couple years ago? I wrote an article about it. But I’ll show you a copy soon…

    J

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Now that you are here, I would love to know what you think...comments are always appreciated.