A new study from the USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future states that the majority of newspapers in the USA will cease to exist in printed form within the next five years. The report asked whether America had arrived at a "digital turning point" and examined the role of new, often disruptive, digital technologies in American politics, media, communication and the American lifestyle in general.
The report concluded that, as print circulation continues to drop, most newspapers will suffer, causing them to terminate printing operations altogether. Whether publications stand a chance of maintaining printed editions seems to be a question of size; large organisations, such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today, could potentially keep their printed editions, whilst local weeklies presumably thanks to their small numbers of staff and dedicated readerships, could also keep their printed editions.
Even those who have written in opposition to the report's predictions have argued that this widespread demise of print will happen, just perhaps not as quickly as the report predicts. John Robinson's retort argues that the decline of print will take at least 10 years. From these articles it would seem that the demise of print in the USA is simply a question of 'when' not 'if'.
The advancement of digital technology has changed the way in which Americans organise their lives. Due to the role of digital technology, working hours have intruded further and further into what would have been private leisure time, making people "accountable to their work all the time".
Information and communication has also followed this 24/7 trend, becoming increasingly instantaneous due to social media. This produces not only a constant flow of conversation but a constant stream of news. Undoubtedly, the social media explosion in the US has revolutionized the ways in which Americans receive information, but the report found that information gathered from social media like Facebook and Twitter is normally considered to be unreliable and untrustworthy. 51% of people surveyed said just a "small portion or none of the information they see on social networking sites is reliable", while only 14% of people trusted social media enough to agree that "most or all" of the information on social networks is reliable.
Despite the pessimistic attitude towards the future of print; it would seem that there is an increasing need to verify information and, regardless of whether the medium for journalism changes from print to digital, it seems that there is still a need to have information which is verified and published from trusted sources.