Last week the Daily Nation media group editors met bloggers at the Nailab in Bishop Magua Ngong Road. The forum was open to bloggers, PR people and generally the media community that were interested to know more about The Daily Nation. It was an interactive forum where many questions were asked. But the bombshell question that was asked was “don’t you think that the era of print media is coming to an end?” When people were asked to raise their hands if they believed that print media will die, I quickly put my hand up. There were two separate debates regarding the questions and the following points came up.
The answer from the Daily Nation staff was as simple as no for the reasons below.
1. Print has comprehensive stories: By the time a story has been formed a reporter must go the scene and contextualize. They receive first hand information through interviews to get a complete story. As a matter of fact people go to their websites to get an angle for their own news. Although newspapers have become a secondary platform it does not mean that people will not want to read a hard copy with the full story.
2. Proximity: I was impressed when I learnt that since people want to know stories based on the area they live in it means that the news is delivered based on proximity. For example the newspaper Nairobi has today is not the same one that Coast has. When the KCSE results were out headlines varied depending on who was the highest in that constituency. This means that they deliver news that one can relate to as their target audience are different in different regions. They have segments such as county news which is one of the things that most digital platforms do not have.
3. Time: When it comes to newspapers, stories change based on time not everything is timeless like most blogs. They make sure to have different angles on the trending stories especially political content every other day and offer strong arguments.
4. Studied target audience: When it comes to print there are still people who will rarely go online to look for news. These are people who work and are older they even have subscriptions to news papers. Keeping this in mind they have a broad spectrum and have learnt to accommodate every kind of audience. They have done this by creating even more segments and magazines. For example every Sunday their newspaper has political and analysis stories. This is most likely to do with the fact that this is when people are at home and would have time to read.
Then there were the people who believe that we are moving into the digital error sooner than later and print will be another story.
1. Cheaper: Digital media is cheaper than newspapers; currently not everyone can afford 60 shillings to buy newspapers every day.
2. Faster: Many people have internet and it is faster to peruse through news as opposed to waiting to buy a newspaper. With social networks such as twitter where news is tweeted by everyone instantly, it’s certainly faster to receive news.
3. Variety: Online platforms have variety that people subscribe to and get what they are specifically interested in. In a newspaper one might only be interested in the political segments and not fashion.
4. Newspaper online platform: Every newspaper nowadays has an online platform which works for the younger generation for whom buying the newspaper is an afterthought. Unless one is actually in the newspaper then that is when they would want to buy the newspaper.
It is hard to tell if we are swiftly going to move from newspapers to digital permanently. But what is certain is that currently there are still people who prefer newspapers and people who prefer reading news online. There is still a big audience for both.