“Print journalism needs new strategies”

Written by Nina Büchs

Like many other journalistic students, Kimberly Nicolaus’s dream is to become a successful reporter. But in terms of digitalization, journalism, especially print, is facing challenges. So, how does the future of print journalism look like?

The moment, Kimberly Nicolaus starts talking about her dream job, there’s a sparkle appearing in her eyes. Her voice sounds passionate, a sense of enthusiasm is in the air. “Writing stories and broadening my horizon”, that’s what motivated the 21-year-old-girl from Germany to study Crossmedia Journalism at the Hochschule der Medien in Stuttgart.

On the other hand, Kimberly knows: Journalism is struggling. The facts can’t be ignored: In the US, 1,800 local print newspapers have been closed since 2014. Although many people of her generation have already adapted to the trend of digitalization and consume their news mostly online or via social media, Kimberly seems to swim against the tide. Instead of reading daily news on her smartphone, she cherishes printed newspapers, such as “die Zeit” or “New York Times”. What for some may sound old-fashioned, helps her to concentrate and get deeper into the news.

But how could the future of print journalism look like? “I can imagine that in about 50 years, daily print newspapers won’t exist anymore. Instead of paying for the newspapers, most people use the internet to get information on topical news for free. That’s why print journalism needs to reconsider its strategy and to clearly differ from online newspapers.” Instead of publishing daily news, Kim suggests to focus on another type of content to ensure the future of print journalism: “Since most people still value quality journalism, a strategy could be to publish more printed special interest newspapers or magazines about topical issues in greater contexts, with in-depth research and more background info. If you think for example about the refugee crisis in Europe, a lot happened in the last few years. So, print journalism could show the whole development of that topic in one magazine.”