Journalism and the Despondent Expiry of the Physical Newspaper

The long lived world of broadcasted news through the written word is evidently coming to an end, but why?

Veronica Brown, Staff Writer

From 1940 to 2020 the total estimated circulation of U.S. daily newspapers decreased by twenty million, somewhat signifying the long winded demise of the written word. Somehow, in the year 2021, journalism as an industry is quite possibly one of the largest in the world, yet the concern towards the continuation of print has grown exponentially. 

“Doing this (writing), or trying to do this, felt to me like a vocation. But a vocation isn’t a hobby. Someone has to pay the rent,” states Christina Patterson, a former Independent journalist. 

In California the average journalist’s salary is about $41,731 a year, nowhere near the average cost of living here, where an average home price in the bustling city of San Diego is approximately $800,746. 

The amount journalists make not only affects the writers themselves, but aspiring writers as well. According to Bree Del Sordo, the journalism teacher at San Pasqual High School, one of the biggest setbacks for our journalism program is the cost of production. When asked to voice what she thought may be the reasons for the demise of journalism, Del Sordo’s immediate response was, “I think that the cost of printing… creating a printed publication is… not beneficial in a high school environment. I think that… it’s difficult to find funding for our students and to raise those funds, and very costly to put out a print publication.” This leads to the question, is journalism a prioritized career in the American diaspora?

On an international level, society as a whole has changed the trajectory of journalism as we know it. Traditional print is depopulating as the general human population is growing, along with the technological advancements made in human civilization. This idea may make you wonder, how has journalism not been completely erased, and why is it dying off to begin with?

Austin Barientos, a student enrolled in San Pasqual High School’s journalism program, expressed his experience with journalism as a way to further improve his writing and knowledge on information around the world. When asked what he believes could change the decline of printed journalism, Barientos proposed less writing for a smoother, more simple reading experience. Though, is complexity truly the problem, or is the push towards fast consumerism a factor in these issues too?

Heather Rodriguez, a junior at San Pasqual High School reminisced on her first experience with the newspaper, a bittersweet memory she depicts as something driven by the lack of technology. 

“It’s literally just technology [replacing the newspaper],” Rodriguez states. “Because before, when I was younger, my dad used to sit on the couch and… read us the newspaper and now …we just listen to [the news] while we’re getting ready for school.”

What many don’t know is that the idea of journalism is much more than the writing and distribution of newspaper or fashion magazines. What we know as journalism is not truly journalism, it is the distribution of information through the written word, however, journalism as an industry distributes information through many forms of media. So, because technology is replacing the newspaper, journalism will soon become multimedia communication here at San Pasqual High School. 

“The idea is that the core of the class will remain the same, it will still be journalism, we will still report the news,” Del Sordo explains. “But, there will be an emphasis on different media outlets of the news. So we will have broadcast journalism. and photojournalism, and written journalism, and podcast-type journalistic pieces… and we want to promote social media. We don’t just want to have the written story. Right? We want to promote getting out the news. We’re hoping that by changing the title of the class to Multimedia Communication, that it will promote journalism and help students to understand that [journalism] is more than just writing articles.”