How Newspapers Are Maintaining Their Quality in Order to Fight For Their Space in the Media Landscape

Cody N. Tackett

Newspapers are currently the oldest surviving medium, but since the beginning of this century, they have been playing “defense” to maintain their share in the media market. Sadly, many newspapers across the globe have been forced to merge with other publications or close altogether. In an effort to maintain some of their share in the media landscape, newspapers have had to become strict in quality and credibility. The goal of journalism is to report news and stories that will help consumers (citizens) make decisions and plan accordingly. The goals of journalism have evolved with the evolution of technology to include delivering breaking news in the fastest and most efficient way possible, and newspapers (in their print format) are not the fastest source of breaking news. Yes, they still strive to uphold true and factual news, but newspapers are no longer the preferred choice of news among most Americans. However, even if they are no longer the fastest source of news, their goal remains the same: report the news that matters.

Newspapers continue to uphold the missions of journalism through their quality of reporting. This is how newspapers were able to fight off broadcast news for so many decades. Newspapers (and especially nationally distributed newspapers) have developed a “prestigious” self-image, as publications such as the New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The Chicago Tribune have all been in existence since the middle of the 19th century. Their age and consistency in quality over the decades have allowed these publications to “weather” the impact of digitalized journalism as they have maintained their original level of quality and truthfulness in their reporting. Local and rural newspapers however haven’t been so strict with their quality, as they have smaller audiences and are less advanced in their digital compatibility than larger national publications have created to stay up to “par” with digital outlets.

Not all newspapers have adapted well to the new market, with many folding and/or merging under the strain of new media outlets. Some newspapers have allowed their quality to dwindle due in part to a lack of journalists wishing to become print journalists, as many fear that there will be no jobs in the print sector of the field of journalism. This is a large contributor to the decline in local newspapers, as journalists move to larger markets, or overlook the medium altogether. Due to shortages and competition, coupled with the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic, 30 newspapers closed up shop in April and May of 2020 alone. This is odd, considering that during that time period news sources became lifelines in bringing information and guidance from the CDC, as well as developing updates on the pandemic. However, as previously mentioned; newspapers are not the best source for breaking news, and during that time of ever-changing guidance and Covid case numbers and deaths, more people were turning to digital forms of media due to their easy accessibility and rapid updates. More newspapers have folded since, as the pandemic pushed the medium to its limit, and in many cases, some outlets were pushed too far.


  1. Abernathy, Muse Penelope. “News Deserts and Ghost Newspapers: Will Local News Survive?” 2020. Hussman School of Journalism and Media. Retrived from:

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