‘Print journalism is dead.’
Observer Editorial Board | Friday, November 10, 2023
Print journalism is dead.
At least, that’s what the critics say. If you’ve been paying attention, it seems as though news boxes lie empty on every street corner. This material fact has heralded the death of good old-fashioned print newspapers and the rise of digital editions, e-readers and a plethora of online news substitutes.
According to The Washington Post, local newspapers have been cutting back their print days due to increasing production expenses. Part of the rationale is to preserve newsroom staff — with smaller budgets, business managers would prefer to lose a day of physical newspaper circulation than lose a journalist.
But here at The Observer, we value our staff and our print edition — which is delivered to newsstands across the tri-campus every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. You can find it in the dining halls, student centers, Hesburgh Library, Bond Hall, Remick Family Hall and many other academic buildings.
We value our print edition by our countless hours of work, often working past 3 a.m., in our office in the basement of South Dining Hall, to get the paper out the next morning.
Our editorial board cares about this paper and its print editions, but you might not. This is why we believe printing three times a week is so important.
Our print edition keeps our standards for journalism high.
Some newspapers pitch themselves as digital-first. While there is nothing wrong with this, writing solely for digital publications can lead to sloppy writing and clickbait stories. Writing articles for our print edition, often with larger word counts than the average news website, means our staff puts storytelling and quality information first.
Likewise, our print editions keep our staff accountable for the information we publish. If any of our student journalists make mistakes, they are permanently in print — which is the foundation of our transparency and standards for correction. We are honest with our readers and publish every single correction online and in print.
The Observer’s print edition is the trial-by-fire training ground for journalists across the tri-campus. Our deadlines are sometimes tight and need to be met to fill our print copies. Writing for print inherently trains our writers to meet deadlines and deliver high-quality stories in a tight timeframe.
Training our staff to meet the standards of print journalism is essential for their development as effective journalists and professionals, regardless of their future jobs. Members of The Observer have applied their skills at The Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, The Dallas Morning News, NBC and ESPN.
Our print edition helps foster campus dialogue.
When reading online newspapers, it is easy to fall into an echo chamber. Readers click on headlines they are interested in, and most frequently, already agree with. This biased consumption of reporting within modern-day journalism has led to much of the political polarization we see in the United States today.
As an independent student-run newspaper, The Observer strives to objectively report tri-campus events while providing balanced perspectives within our Viewpoint section. Part of this goal means packaging dissenting opinions into our print editions.
By design, readers of our print edition are presented with diverse perspectives and might be more likely to read and engage with something they might’ve not clicked on online. Plus, the 12 or 16 pages we print are an easier way to stay informed than navigating a website plastered with dozens or hundreds of links demanding attention. Studies show when people read in print, they retain more information.
Additionally, our print edition reaches people who aren’t currently members of our tri-campus community. Every football Friday, when tourists visit the Hesburgh Library, somebody is picking up a print edition of The Observer. Within the fold of its pages are your names and faces: our friends, our professors, our hall staff and our loved ones. They are holding a precious piece of campus history preserved in that day’s print edition.
Since 1966, The Observer has been dedicated to uncovering the truth and reporting it accurately. We’ve been printing truth for you in our paper for over fifty years, and we’re not going to stop any time soon.