The death of print has been unavoidable for some time now. Many newspaper companies have had massive layoffs over the past ten years. They are losing more and more subscribers and the cost to print is becoming far more than the money made.
The New Orleans Times announced layoffs of three dozen employees recently; the Los Angeles Times is planning to cut yet another round of its staff leaving it at half of where it was during their strongest times as a newspaper. One of New York City’s most important newspapers was completely cancelled. This is only a glimpse into the newspaper cuts happening constantly around the country. The large amount of the population that used to subscribe to the print newspapers have either converted to reading journalism online or died. People used to have to cancel the newspaper every time they went out of town or deal with the paper being delivered long after they had stopped paying, wasting money and paper on someone who wasn’t even reading it. The younger generation finds very little appealing about a printed version of the paper; the ink gets all over hands and it’s awkwardly large and sometimes hard to read. A reader has to sort through all the articles they don’t want to read only to find a small section of the things they do want to read. It’s far easier to pull up articles on your phone, tablet, or computer now.
Unfortunately, as the traditional journalists for big newspapers fade out, so does something else: Newspaper comics. Nostalgia hits every time someone tears out the middle of a newspaper to get to the comic pages, which is about two pages of simple one line comic strips geared towards a wide audience. Most of the time it featured big names such as Garfield, Blondie, Agnes, Mutts, Zits, and many more. These single comic strips inspired its readers to learn more about each artist and to develop a love for specific comics. Many of the
younger newspaper comic readers who were born to the generation where print is phasing out turned to the web to find new sources. The birth of webcomics was at the start of the Internet and it seemed only natural as everything else moved over to move the art over as well. Webcomics are far harder to find because of the variety in choices, but everyone can publish themselves online and more than a select few can be good enough to become famous and viewed by thousands as opposed to the two pages of comics.
The death of newspaper comics and birth of webcomics may be great for those artists who have become popular because of their opportunities the web gave them, but it is only with the death of something great that will never be repeated. It seemed only logical in terms of the environment and financial reasons for news companies to switch entirely to the web, but what else do the newspapers lose besides the traditional print comic if they do?