In today’s fast-paced world, we want our news immediately. Going online seems to be the obvious choice, but is it really the best one?




Online is instant, accessible and interactive. We read the facts and then move on. But is that enough? Is the role of journalism simply to convey facts?


Truth and accuracy, fairness and impartiality. These are the core principles of journalism but as Tom Brokaw, NBC journalist likes to say, “It’s all storytelling, you know. That’s what good journalism is all about.” And that’s not easy to do in an online environment.

Good journalism provokes thought and stimulates discussion. This is where printed journalism comes into its own.

  • Printed journalism delves into the story, providing details and often, differing points of view. It stimulates the reader and is perceived as a trustworthy source for news. Kantars 2016 survey revealed that 72%of respondents trusted printed news, that’s an 18% increase in trust compared to online news.
  • Comprehension and recall improve dramatically when reading from a printed page, no matter what the content. In fact, a recent Canadian study revealed that printed material required 21% less cognitive effort to process than digital media.
  • Emotions and desires are stimulated. Just the act of picking up a printed article changes the reader’s mind-set, making them more focussed and open to the message conveyed in the article.

So, what about online journalism? How does it fit into the big picture?

Online journalism is:

  • A fast and efficient means to access news. We can download news anywhere, anytime and update it in an instant. However, this speed can be to our detriment with accuracy of facts often coming into question. As Ellen Goodman , Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, warns,“In Journalism there has always been a tension between getting it first and getting it right.”
  • Interactive – Quality journalism is key to a healthy democracy and integral to that, is the right to freedom of speech. Online journalism is the perfect platform for us to voice our opinions, listen to others and ultimately hold power to account.
  • Effective in getting the news to the people. News consumers surf the web from multiple sites rather than buying just one newspaper. This means online journalism gets far more content to far more people. News consumption is on the increase.

So, is there a need to choose between printed or online journalism or is it more a question of asking ourselves what we are looking for?

Statista sums it up – short, sharp and entertaining or detailed, balanced and trustworthy. Both online and printed journalism have their strengths and work together to provide us with our daily news fix.


About the Author

Mhairi Flett is a wordsmith at heart. She is currently Associate Editor of GSM magazine, an industry-related magazine for graphic designers and printers, as well as a freelance writer and copywriter. Her background is in languages, literature and sales and marketing with an extensive career in the printing industry. Mhairi’s passions are writing and travelling, with a focus on people and culture. When not writing, you’ll find Mhairi caring for her family of four and researching their next adventure.




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