AB Thinks  →  7th July 2016

News app vs newspaper

Kirstie Pickering

A decade ago, we would pick up a newspaper every morning to read the headlines. Now, many of us are accustomed to rolling over in bed and grabbing our phones to check for the most up to date happenings in the world.

This dependency on apps and, perhaps most prominently, social media, offers a fresh perspective on events as they happen.

Take the recent terrorist attack in Nice, when a driver killed 84 people by ploughing his lorry through crowds celebrating Bastille Day. I first heard about the atrocity thanks to a breaking news update on my phone and I then went straight to social media to follow up for more information.

The accessibility of social media is what makes it such a leading source for news. Although its unfiltered nature means we often see things we’d rather not and can struggle to instantly verify reliably, we are all hungry for more when a major story breaks. Every news station and newspaper has its own set agenda, whereas this is instant and organic.

When news broke of the attempted coup in Turkey late on Friday, we took to Twitter to see moment-by-moment photos and videos as tanks blocked bridges and jets flew low. By Saturday morning, it was all over – anything a newspaper could have offered was already outdated.

More than 2 billion people around the world own smartphones, which is expected to rise north of 6 billion by 2020. With usage of Facebook Live and Periscope on the up, how long before the age-old newspaper becomes completely redundant?