I heard a rumour some time back that with the advent of social media, print media was heading for the gallows. As to who propagated this rumour, I cannot tell,but there is this fear that print media will be going into extinction soon. Well, with the ever increasing advancement of technology and the need for things to be done quickly and now; it will not be entirely hazardous to project the irrelevance of print media in the not so distant future.
Why am I saying this? It is because of the change factor that is sometimes ignored in our daily interactions. Ever since the creation of the universe, man has gone through series of change. The controversial scientist Charles Darwin, argues that man was not fashioned in a certain form as the Biblical theorists make us believe, but actually evolved from one specie to the other. Not only has man changed; everything he has ever made has gone through phases as well. Take the telephone and the television for instance, these are electronic gadgets that have seen rapid metamorphosis over the decades.
So what is the fear of print media going into extinction? Yes, the obvious is inevitable; there will come a point in time when any form of print material will be retired to the shelves of history. It will be rare to see people holding, for instance, a newspaper or a magazine. Just as it is rare now to see people in 21st century Ghana who do not own mobile phones. However, this phenomenon should not overwhelm publishers, rather, it should be something that has to be readily embraced by all.
Come to think of it, it is actually a blessing in disguise. Can you imagine how fresh and safe the environment will be if all the trees are left alone to give us the oxygen we need?
That was just by the way. Think of it this way; people need information to survive, to know what is going on around them and they will go to every length to get it. Research has proven that those without adequate social interaction are twice as likely to die prematurely. In this age where information has become a commodity, the one who wields news is the one with all the power. And print media being a channel by which information can be accessed possesses that much power.
Therefore I believe those who are not creative and innovative are the ones crying foul. Recently, I was researching for information on the internet, when I found the right source and clicked, guess what? I was given a teaser and asked to subscribe for the rest of the information I needed. That was when it dawned on me; print media cannot die, it can evolve. By evolution I mean going the digital way.
What do I mean by going digital? Simply taking advantage of the opportunities of the new age technology like the internet and repositioning itself. Today, everybody can have access to information if they own a mobile phone. People have adapted to the new way of doing things in other to survive in their environment. The good news is that print media would not have to worry about orienting people on how to use the technology: People are already privy to it
Probably the issue does not have to do with going digital but getting people to patronise. The argument could also be about the cost of setting up a digital platform. However, in comparing the cost of printing, for instance a newspaper, to investing the resources into developing a website, the latter is less costly. This is because people do not have need for news once it dies, therefore the newspapers that are not sold become dross, unlike the internet where people can have access to new information and refer to old news anytime.
Since it has already been established that people need information to survive, they will do anything to get it, even if it means subscribing. After all don’t they buy the newspapers, magazines or journals they read?
In Ghana, publishers of the Daily Graphic have already taken the steps to evolve. Apart from the graphic online, they have the daily graphic live app which enables anyone with a smartphone to receive news live on their mobile device. On the hand, some are still holding on to tradition. That notwithstanding, digital technology is the future and print media will eventually fossilize. However, it can either re-invent itself with technology or be completely annihilated like the case of the dinosaurs.