Print news creates informed minds



Opinion Columnist Colin Horning expresses why he believes reading the news is important to become an informed citizen.

COLIN HORNING, Opinion Columnist

This may be an unpopular opinion, but newspapers are wonderful. Now, I may have a bit of a bias towards them, being that I work for one and greatly enjoy doing so. But newspapers, especially hard copy versions of them, are something that I find as a valuable part of our modern society. However, they are quickly becoming a relic of the past due to the rise of the Internet and the information era.

It’s highly unlikely that if you’re of the millennial generation or generation Z that you’ve read a print newspaper recently. Of course, there are exceptions, but a Pew Research study from 2017 shows that less than 10% of people age 18-34 pick up a print newspaper at least once per week. Coinciding with that statistic is the steady overall decline in newspaper ad revenue, overall decline in circulation in print versions and an increasingly aging audience is troublesome for the newspaper industry. Practically every single large and mid-sized print outlet has developed an online version offering digital subscriptions, but these sales do not gain enough revenue to offset the declining sales of print versions. On top of all that, almost all newspapers have a paywall for their online versions, which has a tendency to deter a lot of potential users to other free, ad-supported websites across all political ideologies around the Internet. But newspapers are valuable, informative and provide the highest-quality journalism of any other news outlet available.

Most people, especially broke college students, are not willing to pay for news nowadays. After all, why would someone spend their hard-earned money on journalistic content that they can find for free on places like blogs, websites and podcasts? The answer is actually quite simple: you get what you pay for. Most news websites and cable TV channels will often cite reports from the New York Times, the Washington Post or the Wall Street Journal and regurgitate the information for their own reports. These papers, as well as others, are often times the first news outlets to break an important story that will captivate the national press for days and weeks at a time. They are also the main sources of information for many top government officials within the United States, including the President. Information provided specifically in the New York Times is important to deciding how politicians and members within the President’s cabinet will act on foreign policy, national security, and the economy.

As citizens, it’s important to be informed and to be in the know with what’s going on in our country and in the world. And as college students, it’s important for us to get into the habit of reading the news on the daily in order to become said informed citizens. To sweeten the deal even further, papers like the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times offer discounted digital subscriptions, which oftentimes go for about $4-$5 per month, which is chump change in relation to the cost of most textbooks (and of course, the Northern Iowan is free of charge).

Credible journalism and a free press are cornerstones of the United States and a guaranteed right that we have all been bestowed upon in the 1st Amendment of the Constitution.

It’s easier now more than ever to get the news from a clickbait, ad-reliant website rather than taking time and money to support a high-quality newspaper. In fact, many people nowadays run across, or “bump into” news stories through social media feeds on Facebook and Twitter instead of actively seeking them out. But far and away, the best method of informing oneself and keeping up to date on current events is through high-quality daily newspapers. The price tag may be daunting and the time commitment might be hard to come by, but the return on investment is much more valuable than a few bucks and an hour of one’s time. A lifetime of knowledge and information is easily worth it.