This week, the world of journalism was rocked to its core with the news that the Independent and the Independent on Sunday will cease to print from the end of March. This is shocking not only because it heralds the loss of a particularly good-loooking publication and a large number of jobs, but also because it indicates that we are one step closer to the inevitable loss of print media.
Printed newspapers are beautiful, and important. The future may very well be in digital media; it is fast, much more easily accessible, and capable of sharing news and entertainment in so many more ways. However, nothing online will ever have the romance of a printed newspaper. Once you put something in print, it can never be unprinted.There is something terrifying in having to take the leap of cementing something forever in permanent ink.
A front page is a special thing, and there have been some truly iconic front pages, documenting historical events such as the sinking of the Titanic, the death of John F. Kennedy, and the retreat from Dunkirk. There’s also the excitement of headlines, and layout, and squeezing as much information into as few inches of page space as possible.
This announcement has sent shockwaves through the ranks of student journalists for another reason; most of us are at least considering a career in print journalism. The idea that the only real skills we’ve managed to pick up at university won’t help us after graduation as everything has been digitised, is not an encouraging one.
I will admit that the transition to digital is inevitable. Print media is a sinking ship, but it is one that I will cling to until the very last.