Digital news services gain paid readership

Photo by Anonymous Account, via flickr

Photo by Anonymous Account, via flickr 

Moises Fuertes/Staff Writer

Since the digital age started, the newspaper business has been in decline, which is no surprise to me. History has shown time and again that when a new medium of communication flourishes, other mediums stagnate until they adapt to the new one.

As a result, the newspaper business has started to adapt to the online scene. Everything is easier now due to how effective the Internet is, particularly when it comes to publishing online.

There is, however, a shift in the way news is accessed online recently. Digital versions of newspapers today are beginning to input paywalls for the content, as opposed to before, when the news was posted online for free.

According to the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, a 2013 report on digital news showed that people within the age range of 25-to-34 are most willing to pay for digital news throughout several countries, while older groups are more reluctant, with only five percent of users 55-years-old and older willing to pay for digital news. The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism additionally reported that “Nearly half (49 percent) of 18-24 year olds read a digital newspaper – the highest reach of any age group.” 

“I see myself paying for digital news,” said senior Alejandro Viera.  “I find the accessibility worth paying for,” said Viera.  

“I read most of my news online,” said senior and political science major Diana Hernandez. “Having the content available via the Internet is better because it allows a person from any country to read any publication at any time,” said Hernandez.

However, Hernandez would prefer the news  services remain free online, with revenue coming from ads on the page. She did mention that she wouldn’t like it if the advertisement became too personalized or intrusive.

Many newspapers are also developing apps for smartphones and tablets, which has ultimately aided the entire news industry in reaching not only the digital market, but the mobile market as well. The same report on digital news by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism shows that individuals using mobile devices, particularly Apple devices, are 50 percent more likely to pay for digital news.

Whether I’m getting the news on my smartphone or my computer is irrelevant to me; I just care that I have access to it online. I do read print publications, but it simply does not compare to the amount of reading I do online.

The way I see it, this is not only a positive gain for the newspaper industry, but also a clear insight that digital natives, those born after 1980, prefer reading online over print. It is also evidence that we will continue to see a shift in the way people communicate as the digital revolution solidifies itself into our daily lives. 


1. “Digital News Report 2013,” The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism

About the Author

Moises Fuertes
: a Digital Media Studies student at FIU. His productions include audio commercials, video coverage/reviews and still-image projects. He specializes in the video game industry and social media.

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