When I think of the monetary loses that have come about due to the shift from print media to digital, I feel conflicted. And also a little guilty. This is because even though I would rather read a physical copy of a magazine, I chose to read the digital copy. And it’s not because of the environment (though that is a positive outcome of my decision). It is because I don’t have to pay for it. Why would I pay for something when I can get it for free? I even use adblocker so I’m not inconvenienced by a few advertisements while I’m consuming content without payment. I am a horrible, greedy millennial. I realize that I should be paying for work others have done; I should at least let them advertise to me so they can make some sort of revenue (there are other reasons for using adblocker, but that’s a whole other conversation). It is simply too hard to resist getting free content rather than paying for it.
Although the transition from print to digital media has been difficult change, I think the switch will be better for everyone in the long run. Namely because of the environment. Wasting the resources, labour, time, travel, etc. that go into manufacturing and transporting print media just so someone can read a newspaper or magazine for twenty minutes and then throw it out is not sustainable. I would go so far as to say such a blatant waste is unethical in 2016, especially when there is the option to read it digitally. And it’s clear that digital is the way most people are going: “By the end of 2010, 41 percent of Americans said they got most of their news about national and international issues online, up 17 percent from 2009” (Sterling, 2011, p. 41).
Apart from helping the environment, digital offers other benefits. A study looking at low-vision patients with macular degeneration preferred reading newspaper digitally rather than on print, since it allowed them to read text easier (Gill et al., 2013, p. 639). I think there is still a place for print (I don’t plan on switching from print books to digital any time soon), but more and more people are shifting to reading news digitally, and that’s a good thing.
Gill, K., Mao, A., Powell, AM., & Sheidow, T. (2013) Digital reader vs print media: the role of digital technology in reading accuracy in age-related macular degeneration. Eye (27)5, p. 639-643
Sterling, E. (2011). Digital First. Editor & Publisher (144)12, p. 40-45