By Autumn Moon
Walking in the front door of my house, I saw The New York Times sprawled on my family’s kitchen table, as it often was. As is a habit of mine, I picked it up and briefly scanned the headlines. I’ve always felt a sense of reassurance from print publications like the Times, as if they’re silently urging me to keep pursuing my goals, despite the plethora of people that have discouraged my pursuance of a journalism degree.
It was not long ago, when I first began applying to colleges as a journalism major, that I recall being told not to pursue the craft of my dreams. The details are unimportant and have grown hazy with time, but the cock of a head and a condescending smile, when I tell someone my major, will always remain fresh in my mind. Both actions clearly suggested disapproval.
Anyway, I went to sleep at home that night comforted by the softness of my bed, wrapped in fresh sheets that smelled like home.
The next morning, I woke up, and groggily made my way downstairs for coffee. I unsteadily poured myself a cup, thrust open the refrigerator and heaved a bit of creamer into my mug. Then, I glanced around for The New York Times. To my dismay, I couldn’t find a paper anywhere.
In the tone of someone who had lost something, my mom forlornly told me that while I was away, my family had decided to discontinue their print subscription to The New York Times. Dramatically, I gasped. In the oddest sense, I had felt betrayed by her statement. How could the family of a journalism major discontinue their print subscription to The New York Times?
The stark irony of the situation made me think deeply about what it means to be a journalism major in 2019. People often say that journalism is on the decline, or is a “dying” profession. In terms of print journalism, they are not wrong. In the past year alone, weekday print circulation has decreased 12 percent and Sunday print circulation has decreased 13 percent, according to journalism.org. However, in terms of the journalism industry as a whole, doubtful critics could not be more wrong.
The beautiful thing about journalism as a major, profession and craft is that it’s not about the medium in which news is conveyed, it’s about the story that is being told. Journalism embodies the art of telling stories and no matter what technological medium is presently taking over the industry, the backbone of the craft remains the same. Journalism is built upon telling the stories that need to be told, exposing the truth and sharing narratives about the human condition. From prehistory until the future, the demand that journalists fulfill will always be necessary in society.
Although I remain slightly upset at the fact that my family is now no longer continuing our long-held tradition of reading print news, the irony of the situation has led me to a valuable conclusion. Print may have laid the foundation for journalism and so it is sorrowful to see it’s death, but the birth of a new era of journalism is rising. This new form is no better or worse than that of print journalism — it is simply different. The words, stories and passion of journalists will remain the same, no matter what medium becomes the new standard.