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A fresh take on journalism will help save the planet

By Ivy Velasquez

Growing up, teachers in high school or middle school would require a current events assignment at least once a week. Usually history or English teachers would require  their students to bring in a clip of an article they had chosen that week, along with a written report on what the student  gained from reading it.

At one point in time, this literally meant cutting out an article from the newspaper and stapling it to the report. Eventually, finding articles online and printing them out became more common. It was simply easier than looking through the newspaper that got dropped on the driveway every week.

Similarly, digital journalism has grown as a preference, for no other reason than it is more convenient. Why take the time to go to your local newsstand when you can just read the news on networks that are available on your phone?

“Digital journalism has more and more become how we distribute the news,” said Jeffrey Neely,  associate professor of journalism. “Print is becoming almost obsolete; many don’t see the value in it anymore.”

Many non-journalists tend to wonder whether or not print media is a dying field. As long as there are people who want to know what is going on in the world, journalism most likely won’t die. However, it will change and evolve with the times, like it always has.

There was a time when radio was the most sought out way of getting the news. Through both of these times, print newspaper has persevered. But now, just about everyone has all the information they could possibly want at their fingertips.

While those who are old-fashioned may bemoan the loss of the classic print newspaper, in reality, it could be better for the environment. As stated by Neely, we may not have to cut down trees anymore,

With the current trend to lessen one’s carbon footprint, journalists resorting to digital platforms seems like a  great move. Not only is it environmentally friendly, but it could potentially be financially beneficial as well, by  reducing the amount of money spent on printing physical copies. costs offor newspapers by not printing physical copies.

On the flip side, will the transition to digital media really aid in sustainability? Without going into the different chemicals and metals required for making a phone or computer, an argument could be made that they are almost as bad as using paper.

According to Greenpeace, consumers change their phone every two years on average. Computers are likely used for only a few years longer than that. And once they are done with them, these electronics are thrown away and increase the presence of landfills. Sure, some of the companies ask for the old model back, but what do they do with them after?

Alternatively, the materials could be recycled and used again for a new phone or even the hardware of an older model can updated so that it is practically brand new. This could potentially be more cost effective as well.

Close toAlmost all journalism outlets already have some sort of online presence, whether they  have a print paper or not. At this point, it seems like it’s is almost a requirement in order to keep up with the times.

Cheddar is one of the first news outlets to go 100 percent digital, with two main streaming news networks, a presence in almost every social media platform and written articles on their website.

“I think some major publications will keep for a long time as print but will daily print continue? Probably not,” said Neely.

On the flip side, will the conversion to digital media really aid in sustainability? Without even going into the different chemicals and metals required for making a phone or computer, an argument could be made that they are almost as bad as using paper.

According to Greenpeace, consumers change their phone every two years on average. Computers are likely used for only a few years longer than that. And once they are done with them, the electronics are just thrown away, adding to the landfills. Sure, some of the companies ask for the old model back, but what do they do with them after?

It is possible to look into a more sustainable way of disposing or updating a phone. The materials could be recycled and used again for a new phone or even the hardware of an older model can updated so that it is practically brand new. This could potentially be more cost effective as well.

Going back to the effect of digital journalism, there is also a concern regarding whether or not value is truly placed in journalism anymore because of how it’s being forced to evolve. Having information constantly at one’s fingertips can have the negative effect of creating impatient consumers.

The other day, I was scrolling through Facebook and came upon an article from the Tampa Bay Times. The Times limits the amount of articles a person can read without subscribing and within the comments of the post, one consumer was condemning the paper for still requiring subscriptions in order to read. He stated that while he knew The Times had excellent journalism, he’d rather go to a subpar paper that doesn’t require a subscription so he could get his news quicker.

This brings to light the severe impatience that consumers have today. However, it also highlights the fact that people, specifically ones that do not work within the journalism field, do not value journalists and the effort that they put into their work in order to provide people with news. After all, subscribing to a digital paper is part of what pays the journalists.

TheThere is also a loss of appreciation for what is called slow news, according to Neely. Because cConsumers want immediate access to what’s  going on, there has been some loss in the value placed in a journalist who has taken the time to thoroughly research a story.

This is not to say that digital journalism has ruined the field. If anything, it is helping to preserve it. But perhaps some of the social and economic issues that has risen from it should be addressed. In the end, all that really matters is whether what is being written and distributed is reaching people. If there is still an effect.

“So long as people are reading and consuming, it doesn’t matter how it is distributed,” said Neely.

Ivy Velasquez can be reached at ivellise.velasques

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