Is There A Place Left For Print Media?

Newsstand in a gas station with few newspapers and magazines

The world is changing rapidly and so does necessities

The hot take on cashless culture going on nowadays somehow reverts back to going paperless, and talking about paperless, it’s hard not to think of newspapers that we consume as our reading pleasure on a daily basis. It’s also becoming hard to find broadsheet ones what with a lot of major newspapers changing their publication to tabloid size or simply going digital.

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It is at least 10 years back, when we have collectively stopped depending on print media. Everything is on digital side now, be it news or entertainment, its available at your fingertips. Furthermore, we don’t have to wait for certain issues of magazine that usually prints monthly to find the information that we want, especially when we could easily type in some terms in the search engine and voila! Everything is there on the World Wide Web.

All of these boils down to one question, is there a place left for print media in Malaysia?

While change is inevitable and might seem like it happens overnight, but in reality, it takes some time before this can actually happen.

One of Malaysia’s first tastes of digital news was in the late 90s with search engine and email interface featuring latest news. But consumers at that time still preferred print as browsing the internet was limited to bulky computers with slow connections. Laptops and notebooks was hardly affordable back then too.

The Iskandarian newspaper June 2019 issue

The widespread use of PDA (Personal Device Assistant) and Blackberry later in the 2000s opened up new ways to consume media. The explosion of smartphone release in 2007 was when the media industry started seeing the shed of interest and decline of demand in their physical publications.

Catching up and saving themselves from drowning in the change, major media agencies in Malaysia decided to either go tabloid or fully online. Dawama, the printer signed under Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) had to go out of business in 2011. NST printing plant in Senai, Johor closed down in 2016, followed later by its branch in Ajil, Terengganu. Classic comic books printer, Tora Aman publications had to shut down in 2017.

The change took effect within 2 decades since the mobile technology and internet merged into one.

Taking this as a measure, for print media to entirely be left forgotten it might take even more years to come as consumers still value news clipping from newspapers, magazines and   archives to make physical memorabilia. Moreover, you can be assured that major newspapers carry insightful news compared to viral and fake news that are rampant on social media and websites.

Despite news being available at fingertips with a click, it is notable that physical newspapers were wiped clean on the day after Malaysia changed its government in May 2018.

Big Bad Wolf 2019 book fair where visitors are seen pushing trolleys to get prints of their choice

Senior citizens still prefers prints to hold and read as devices and gadgets are deemed too small for them to read at ease. Book fairs like Big Bad Wolf and Pesta Buku Antarabangsa Kuala Lumpur that are held annually still has thousands flocking by in hopes to find prints of their interest in discounts.

We spoke to some citizens who shared that they still prefer print media anytime as nothing beats reading news from a paper regardless of its size. However, some netizens do prefer browsing the net for quick reads but agrees that not all the news they read online is reliable at times and somehow the charm of newspapers and its news, ads and relevant information it carries does catch their attention.

Although print media may be on the decline; however, the demand is still there. It can definitely sustain and its leverage to do so is by merging specific demographic, technology and major interest of that demographic which might vary with every publication. Having said this, The Iskandarian would like to thank its readers for believing in it to bring quality news and information.