Nigerian Dailies - The Future of Newspapers

As newspaper circulation declension, an increasing number of papers are merging, completion down or dropping their print editions. Understandably, the role of newspapers is changing and they will need to change too if they are to survive.

There once was a time when newspapers were the only source of news and information many people had. Although radio and television took away the near monopoly status newspapers had, the daily paper remained an integral part of people's lives and was virtually the only source of many services.

With the internet through, everything has rapidly changed. Not only can all the services provided by newspapers be found online, but they can be done online faster, easier and at lower cost. Without the need to print and distribute the ability to show advertisers exactly what they are getting the internet has advantages print will never be able to match.

Just going online is not going to solve the problems of newspapers though. With many of their core functions being taken over by sites that specialize in certain services, it is highly unlikely they will be able to get back much of their readership no matter what they do.

Nigerian dailies still have some things going for them. Many people simply do not want to read online even if it is easier and cheaper. Also, the sense of community that a newspaper brings keeps many people subscribing. As technology improves and more and more people become accustomed to doing things online though, more are likely to forget about their local paper.

Clearly, newspapers are going to have to change form if they are to survive. It is difficult to say what form that will be, but clearly a major paradigm shift will have to take place. Perhaps they can become kinds of local access sites that provide local areas a sense of community while connecting people to the outside web at the same time. With so much information, people need a filter that newspapers may be able to provide. Different approaches will need to be tried if they are to remain a part of people's lives over the long run.

Let us hope a way to preserve the sense of community and diversity of opinion Nigerian newspapers have always offered can be found. If it is not, something irreplaceable will be lost.


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