After publishing the news in print each weekday for a century, The Christian Science Monitor announced last week it will discontinue its daily print newspaper in April and publish almost exclusively online, making it the first prominent national newspaper to make the transition from paper to Internet.
It was a heavy financial investment for the Monitor to print a daily paper for 52,000 subscribers, Monitor spokesman Jay Jostyn said.
‘Via the Web, we can reach 1.7 million people per month,’ he said. ‘We can reach a much larger audience for less money in an easy way.’
The Monitor was not the first daily newspaper to discontinue printing, but it was, as of this week, the largest and most well-known paper to do so. Journalism in general is moving from the printed page to the Internet to bridge connect different types of media, Boston University associate journalism professor Chris Daly said.
‘I see this as one transition in the business model of news among many,’ Daly said. ‘It’s not the first, and it’s not the end of the world. Something will emerge from this, a new array of media.’
Daly said Boston University is changing the way it teaches young journalists so students can develop all the skills necessary to be successful when they graduate.
‘We are overhauling our curriculum just as fast as we can,’ Daly said. ‘We are encouraging students to take classes in multimedia so that they are comfortable working in an online environment, and we are taking our existing courses and trying to redesign them so that they all reflect this new digital reality.’
Daly said students will find it hard winning jobs at large print publications like The New York Times or The Washington Post, but he was not concerned about young journalists finding jobs after they graduate.
‘It will be a little harder for students to find jobs in the traditional elite media,’ Daly said. ‘But the fact is, it was never easy for students to find their first job in those places.’
Though print journalism may be struggling to maintain its readership, Daly said he believes overall news readership has increased because of the Internet.
‘I don’t think the total audience for information is shrinking or going away,’ Daly said. ‘If anything, it’s bigger than ever.’
University of Maryland journalism professor Jon Franklin said the move to online publications is a sign of the revolutionary times in the field of journalism.
‘If you want to be an old-time journalist, that’s gone,’ he said. ‘I wish I was a young journalist, because they’re going to get to shape the next journalistic world.’
Franklin said he tells his journalism students to consider pursuing niche fields because he believes the journalism job market of the future will be more specialized.
With the recent cutbacks in print media shifting journalism to the Internet, students looking to a career in journalism said they fear they will face even stiffer competition.
‘Everyday you read that newspapers are laying people off, cutting their staff by 20 or 30 percent,’ College of Arts and Sciences sophomore Christina Lau said. ‘As a result, there’s going to be a lot more competition, because there are just fewer jobs for so many journalism students. It’s going to make everything a lot worse, especially for people my age.’
College of Communication sophomore Zack Kohn said he is not worried about finding a job after he graduates, however.
‘I think the jobs will still be there,’ Kohn, a journalism major, said. ‘They will just be different. It’s up to the university to provide us with the resources to get the multimedia education we’ll need.’