Keep the “Paper” out of “Newspaper”

Keep the “Paper” out of “Newspaper”

Jordan Sang

Since the invention of the printing press around 1440 by Johannes Guttenberg, knowledge could be transferred faster than ever from one part of the world to another. However, after cell phones became popular in the early 2000s, annual newspaper revenue dropped rapidly, with almost $50 billion revenue seen in 2000, falling to a mere $20 billion by 2010 (“Trends & Numbers”). The rapid decline of print media is a trend that has continued as technology has expanded, and reviving The Caldron as a print newspaper would be a vain attempt to maintain the dying art of print media.

Although newspapers have played a significant role in American history, they are an antiquated form of media that requires a large budget to print and distribute to the general public. For example, before personal devices like computers and cell phones were invented and became widely popular, newspapers acted as a tool to keep citizens updated on global, national, and local events. Even though other forms of media were also popular during the late 20th century, like radio and television, newspapers stayed relevant because they provided a quick overview of what was going on in the world and featured sections that could fuel the interests of an entire family.

Photo courtesy of US Newspaper Advertising Revenue

As technology has spread worldwide, it has become cheaper for news companies to purchase a domain and upload content to a website. A site like CBS News can provide free news in different categories because their cost is sustained through ad revenue and sponsors. Other news sites like The New York Times deliver information through subscriptions, as they have done with print media in the past. While many sites also maintain their print publications, the growth of their digital audience has led them to focus on improving their websites.

However, The Caldron was initially created as a newspaper for students by students. Since The Caldron is a school news source, we would need sponsors with the resources to print hundreds of newspapers. For example, a print order of 100 black and white newspapers would cost around $179 per monthly order, according to a newspaper pricing calculator (“Newsprint Pricing”). The current WordPress plan that allows us to upload articles all year long, with images in black and white and color, costs $117 for the yearly subscription and domain renewal. Instead of wasting money on newspapers that high school students will look at only a handful of times, we could use these hypothetical extra funds to upgrade the current theme on the site or purchase plugins to make the site more user-friendly.

Despite what some may believe, the internet is forever. While releasing paper newspapers would allow future high schoolers to review past editions, the website is arguably a more organized archive of previous articles, sorted by month and year. Keeping The Caldron as an online-only news source is also more economical and relevant to the demographic of high schoolers for which it is designed. According to Pew Research Center, 91% of adults between 18-29 rely on digital devices as their primary news source. Even among those older than 65, 67% prefer digital devices as their news source compared to 49% who used print publications (Forman-Katz & Masta). Instead of focusing on preserving a form of art that has been declining for the last several decades, we should prioritize modernizing The Caldron and making it look less like a Myspace page from the early 2000s.