Sekerci: The digital takeover of news


Burak Sekerci, Columnist

Look around you.

Whether you are in a classroom, in a cafe or walking down the street, you probably see an army of people fiddling with their phones, tablets or computers.

The digital revolution affects every aspect of our lives. We change or adopt new habits because of the digital revolution.

One of these new habits is reading the news from our mobile devices, and we must wonder whether the digital revolution will consume our news as well.

This Monday, The New York Times announced it had reached 1 million digital subscribers. Considering that the newspaper has 1.1 million print subscribers who can also access the online features, this number is pretty significant. It marks an important milestone: Just four and a half years after launching the digital service, the number of digital subscribers has nearly reached the number of the newspaper’s total print subscribers. This is a perfect example of a core characteristic of the digital: It takes over our world very fast.

Smartphones are a necessity that we cannot escape. People now spend more time on their phones than they spend watching TV, Bloomberg reported in 2014.

Technology that is used at such a high frequency automatically brings fresh habits to our society. One of these habits is that we are not patient anymore. We want to access information instantly. We want to reach people instantly. We want our photos to be seen instantly. The examples can go on and on. Digital technology has made us addicted to instant information.

This tendency also affects how we consume news. People want to know what’s going on around the world every almost second of the day. People’s lives are swarmed with news now, and I personally get around 40 notifications each day from different news agencies on my iPhone, tablet and email. Since the digital revolution is here to stay, our new habits will prevent us from defecting back to print news, which is just not fast enough.

On the other hand, we have a natural tendency to like paper and paper-related things, perhaps simply because we are more used to it. Humans have interacted with paper since the third millennium B.C. A concept that has been around for so long carries a sense of attachment. This might be correct for e-books, as e-book sales in the United States have declined over the last year.

In the past, people would need to wait for the evening news in order to be informed about current events. The Internet age has made us impatient and hungry for information, while technology allows us to read and watch the news almost instantly. Because of these two simultaneous advancements, digital consumption of news is a perfect, natural medium to fulfill our modern society.

Burak Sekerci is a McCormick junior. He can be reached at[email protected]. If you would like to respond publicly to this column, send a Letter to the Editor to [email protected].

The views expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect the views of all staff members of The Daily Northwestern.