By Bishop Peterson

Print Journalism, the bedrock and source of the other branches of journalism today, seems to be fading out in today’s generation. There are many reasons why this is happening in Sierra Leone today. Even when there are a hundred of reasons, yet, I must confess that, among many things, Media Poverty – an aspect where financial commitment is overlooked in paying and attending to journalist in their workplaces, is the only one thing we must look into today.

It is very key for one to not only be passionate about the practice of journalism; the issues or challenges surrounding the course, of course, should be well analyzed and or exhausted before going into it. It wasn’t until when I paraded my life into becoming a student journalist before things like poverty, decline and many uncooked calories shot on the way.

That old desire we used to see from our grandparents when we were only toddlers regarding the active reading culture in the forgone past seems to disappear slowly in this our 21st centuries. When you ask why is this act of incessant lazy nature towards daily reading of newspaper or any other document around life, one would probably say it’s because the revolutionary move of our world through Media, technology and or other easy angles of communication have now hijacked the whole system of journalism.

A question to answer to: how can we defend this very assertion without making time to go out and to see how journalist themselves who, from time to time, sit down to write and or even go for issues and events suffer all throughout in course? Our country, Sierra Leone is falling drastically in the area of writing. Most students today hardly go in for this sector of writing. Especially where Journalism is now segmented into four departments, one may only wish to be a PR mortal, a Broadcaster, Development Communication student, among other things.

You can testify this by just going to each department at the Mass Communications to identify the evidence in a broad day light. Where there are a hundred of students reading PR as a course, one third of those set of their colleagues only opt for the Print sector in Journalism.

A piece to every Sierra Leonean journalist!

In an age dominated by digital media, print journalism finds itself grappling with a myriad of challenges that have led to its steady decline. Among the many factors impeding the once-thriving industry, media poverty emerges as a significant cause, posing a threat to the survival of traditional print publications.

Print journalism has long been regarded as a cornerstone of democratic societies, providing in-depth, fact-checked reporting that helps to inform and engage communities. However, the relentless pace of technological advancements, coupled with rapidly changing reader preferences, has laid bare the vulnerabilities of print media.

A primary contributor to print journalism’s struggle is media poverty. Traditional news outlets face daunting financial constraints as advertising revenue dwindles, readership declines, and online outlets dominate the media landscape. This economic downturn has led to layoffs, reduced resources, and diminished editorial quality in many print publications.

The Internet and the rise of digital media platforms have disrupted the traditional advertising model that was the lifeblood of print journalism. Advertisers increasingly favour online platforms due to their wider reach, better targeting capabilities, and cost-effectiveness. This shift has left print newspapers and magazines with a dwindling share of advertising revenue, leading to financial instability and undermining their ability to sustain quality journalism.

Moreover, changing reader habits have dealt a severe blow to print journalism. With the proliferation of smartphones, tablets, and e-readers, people now consume news primarily through digital channels. Online platforms offer convenience, accessibility, and interactive features that appeal to a tech-savvy audience, causing print subscriptions to plummet. As readership declines, so does the revenue, creating a vicious cycle that exacerbates the challenges faced by print media.

The decline of print journalism has far-reaching implications for society. With the loss of robust investigative reporting and local coverage, communities are at risk of becoming news deserts—areas devoid of trustworthy information. This vacuum leaves room for misinformation, polarization, and a decline in civic engagement.

Addressing the decline of print journalism and media poverty requires a multi-faceted approach. Publications must adapt to the digital landscape, embracing online platforms while preserving the core principles of journalism. Diversifying revenue streams by exploring subscription models, philanthropic support, and innovative partnerships is crucial for economic sustainability.

Furthermore, policymakers, media organizations, and stakeholders must collaborate to develop initiatives that one mind that may take the country to another height. The university administration should set the task high in bringing back the broken baton in Print Journalism. Media owners and heads of newsrooms should endeavor to create lucrative ways in making journalists happy. The salaries meant for them shouldn’t be meagre. There’s more to it than what the audience may just see from here. Until then, I expect everybody to set things right in the world of Print Journalism.

Copy right –Printed in the Expo Times News on Friday, April 12th, 2024 (ExpoTimes News – Expo Media Group (