Who doesn’t know newspaper?
Except you live on far far away land which has no modern culture or kidnapped in underground prison without access to the outside world, you must know about newspaper. Newspaper indeed holds an important role on people’s life through the ages. It often brings sound of change and makes a civilization changes as well. For example, you can open your Indonesian history book and read carefully on the chapter of “Kebangkitan Bangsa”―or in English, “Nation Awakening” (I don’t really remember the chapter’s name, but the point is where the youth on 1928 makes a lot of struggle against the Netherland’s army using their knowledge that is gained from “Politik Balas Budi”―”Thankful Policy”). There, you can find that newspaper contribute to spread Indonesian youth’s idea about independence. That is how the Indonesian’s people who live on faraway place know about the idea of independence and begin to rebels against the colonist. Later, it will leads to freedom. From this story, it is known that newspaper really can make a big change to people’s life.
Until 20th century, newspaper still holds important role. But when it comes to 21st century, newspaper’s role begins to doubted. It is because penetration of internet, which surprisingly fast in leading the media usage. According to survey that held by Nielsen Media Indonesia (2008), the newspaper readership is decreasing and it will be on the same condition until next year. On the contrary, internet users are increasing. Associate Director The Nielsen Company Indonesia, Ika Jatmikasari said, until September 2008, respondent in four major city prefer internet and television to newspaper. She also added that 14 percent respondents choose watching television and 11 percent do not read newspaper because of price matters. The survey shows that 35 percent newspaper’s readers and 45 percent magazine’s readers said that the increase of price influences their reading habit. They choose another media (which is cheaper, maybe) such as television, radio, and internet.
Those statistics data show that newspapers are increasingly being threatened by the emerging new media, which combines internet technology, visual audio, and cellular phones. According to Virtual Consulting executive officer, Nukman Lutfie (2008), the Internet can provide information directly in a much faster way. “Hence, newspapers become old and journalists can no longer be as influential,” he said in a seminar titled ‘New Media: The End of Conventional Media?’ held by the Indonesian Independent Journalists Alliance (AJI) on November 27, 2008 in Denpasar.
Not only being threatened, the newspaper is also predicted to be dead. According to the young director of Jawa Pos, Azrul Ananda (2008), the newspaper era is over. If it is not, the newspaper era is almost over. It is because of television, and the worst enemy, is internet. The prices of newspaper keep increasing; while the price to be online is keep decreasing. He writes that it is about time for newspaper to step down, or even dead.
His father, Jawa Pos chairperson, Dahlan Iskan, supports his opinion. According to Dahlan (2008), the prediction of the death of newspaper is true, and it will not take a long time to realize. The bankrupt of a notable newspaper company, Chicago Tribune, is the evidence to strengthen that prediction. Moreover, other notable newspapers such as Washington Post and New York Times are said to have similar problem.
According to Gene Mater, Media Consultant from Freedom Forum (2008), in America, the numbers of newspaper keep decreasing since 1959. 300.000 newspapers have been closed. This ex-journalist of CBS said that the profit of newspaper is only 25 percent. Mater added that there has been change on the way people consume media.
Wally Dean, senior journalist who is also the director of Committee of Concerned Journalists (CCJ), said the same things. According to Dean (2008), the decrease is about 1 percent every year during these 20 years. He said that the audiences of afternoon news have been decrease 50 percents during these 30 years and audiences of TV that broadcasted local news have been decrease 20 percents on all local TV in America on these 20 years. Seeing there are so many people who predicts that newspaper will be dead, the prediction about the death of newspaper is like something that cannot be avoided.
This prediction is support with the growth of internet. Nowadays, internet can be found anywhere. It is not rare things anymore. The numbers of internet users keep increasing during this globalization era. It is like that everyone wants to be part of internet world and it does not take a high price to be online. If you have a laptop and accidently is in the Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity) area, you can use the internet connection easily. Moreover, if you are in the campus or institutions that provide Wi-Fi, it will be absolutely free. Everyone can access internet as he or she desire. Of course, this growth of internet has great effects to the media usage. People will use this facility to gather information that is formerly provided by newspaper, and the result is great decreasing of newspaper’s readers.
According to Chron (2008), the numbers of visitors who visit online newspaper, or we can said, online journalism, increase 38 percent on 2007. Of course, it will keep increasing as the numbers of internet users increase. For Indonesia, it is predicted that on 2010, the internet users will reach 57,8 million or more. The more they are online, the more possibility they change their way in consuming media.
Why do people change their way in consuming media? According to Nurman Lutfie, there are four things that change their behavior in consuming media.
1. Their time is changed
Latest observation shows that 44 percent internet users are online everyday and 70 percent among them spend two hours each time they are online. It is more than their time to read newspaper or magazines.
2. They are enchanted in social networking sites
Their time on social networking sites such as Facebook or Myspace reduce their time to read newspaper.
3. They build their own online community
Because there is information that cannot be covered by newspaper, their build their own online community, and leave the newspaper.
4. Advertiser begins to use online media
It means that they spend more money on internet. Newspaper will be neglected.
Not only Nurman Lutfie, the Nielsen Media Indonesia also said the same things. According to them, 72 percent respondent of their survey (which is mentioned earlier on this article) said that they (the respondents) do not have time to read newspaper or others conservative media.
The conclusion of all facts above is all the people need in this globalization era is efficiency. Globalization era makes people to be faster and faster, that is why they change their way in consuming media. If they do that, they will minimize the time that they use. Internet is one-stop-solution, everything is there on internet. While browsing, the user can find everything, including news, even the news that happens a moment ago. If insist in using newspaper, it will be a waste, because the news is not update and it is more expensive. That is the reason why the people begin to leave newspaper.
So, what must the newspaper do to escape from this bankrupt possibility? There is two way that newspaper can do; it can enrich itself with new improvisation or converting its media to be online. Azrul Ananda chooses the first one. According to Azrul on his article “Life Will Find The Way” (2008), the newspaper must reinvent itself. He makes example of Madonna, a ‘veteran’ idol who still can be success although her age is not young anymore. It is because she always follows the flow of the ages. Always reinventing, trying something new. Or in my language, always making over and mix and match style. That is why Madonna always looks new and the youth still have no problem in listening her music. Azrul also takes radio as example. He said that radio is older and less interesting than television. It also predicts to be dead like newspaper a long time ago. The fact, until now, radio still survives. The car users who listen to radio on the way save it. Newspapers, Azrul thinks, must do the same things to stand, at least for the next five years.
Different opinion comes from Nurman Lutfie. He is obviously chooses the latter. According to Nurman on seminar titled ‘New Media: The End of Conventional Media?’, newspaper must be changed and immediately go online. If not, they will be left by their readers.
Whether the newspaper is enrich with new improvisation or going online, it is up to the owner. The main point is newspaper must be changed. Mark this word, change. No matter what option it takes. Change is needed in order newspaper can survive, because at this rate, it will be dead like the prediction of many people. Change, and see what happen. If it survives, be thankful, but if it is not… well, it has tried. At least, newspaper will be always remembered as one of most influential media that has ever appeared in this world.
Ananda, Azrul. (2008). Life Will Find The Way. http://www.indopos.co.id/index.php?act=detail&id=10713 (Accessed On December 19, 2008)
Ananda, Azrul. (2008). Newspaper Is Dead. http://www.indopos.co.id/index.php?act=detail&id=10707 (Accessed On December 19, 2008)
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