The Independent goes digital

According to Doug’s lecture, technological convergence can be defined as “the digitisation of all media content”. So I asked myself, who is becoming more digital? The answer is almost everyone. But then I asked myself, who is becoming only digital? Then it hit me, the obvious example is The Independent.

If you are not already aware (it was released this week) – The Independent, who were established in 1986, are going to become the first British national newspaper to go completely online. It will be the bringing together of print press and the internet, as to create a solely digitalised online news source.

As media students, we are constantly asked to predict “what is going to happen to paid print news?” and well, we never come up with a single answer. But that’s okay, because even experts cannot agree to what the trend will be. Andrew Marr, this past Sunday, interviewed Amol Rajan (of The Independent), Jane Moore (of The Sun) and Simon Jenkins (of The Guardian) to discuss just that. The outcome? Well, even more disagreement.

Amol Rajan, The Independent’s editor stuck to the same story as his newspaper printed this week, stating that “the move [to online] will capitalise The Independent’s position as the fastest growing UK quality newspaper website, and will ensure a sustainable and profitable future”. They strongly believe that their online presence will go global, with current figures at a 33.3% increase in the last 12 months to just under 70 million unique users. Evgeny Lebedev, owner of The Independent, added: “The newspaper industry is changing, and that change is being driven by readers. They’re showing us that the future is digital”.

Well, we don’t quite know what the implications will be yet. However we can take a calculated guess, based upon expert opinions. We know that it is convenient to be able to get our news from online, but does that mean that the quality of the content is going to diminish as journalists are no longer going to be ‘on the ground’ and the news will have to be made available even quicker and thus more informal? Are journalists going to be less informed and thus less accurate? Does this mean that there will be an alienation of the elderly? Will media outlets suddenly go global online, rather than national in print? There is no correct answer yet but if the shift is inevitable for every newspaper (as Amol Rajan believes), it will change the entire media landscape.

And it’s not just the media landscape which is being affected. According to Amol Rajan, The Independent are going to create around 25 new jobs when they go online, but The Times revealed that in fact around 100 jobs are at risk due to the shift. 

What do you think? Will ‘going online’ be the inevitable trend for print news? And will that mean that the quality of the writing will depreciate?

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2 Comments

  1. Nicole, you are making a great point here and bringing expert’s opinion from the Andrew Marr show perfectly showcases how much their opinions differ.
    However, concerning your argument Oana, I will have to partly disagree.
    It is certainly valid to argue that the older generation relies on newspaper print edition to a higher degree than the younger generation does.
    But as discussed in the class, technological innovation is inevitable and technologies are constantly being updated and replaced, which often leads to their extinction.
    It will certainly be a long process and transition period, but if print circulation continues to drop at current pace, it will soon not be profitable anymore. This is especially enhanced once the older generation starts to ‘disappear’.

    Like

  2. These days, when you can do everything online, one should expect something like this would happen.
    It is true that technology is developing so fast, but honestly I do not believe all the newspapers will go online. Young people, especially the ones our age, tend to make use of online news more than printed ones because it is more convenient than going to a shop and buy a physical copy of a newspaper. But think about our parents’ generation.. you won’t see my mom or my dad reading news online. My dad doesn’t even want to use a smartphone.
    And yes, the quality of the writing might depreciate, news might be more informal online..
    Reading the Guardian online will never be like reading the actual newspaper.

    Liked by 1 person

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