A decade ago, numerous magazines and newspapers could be found in the checkout aisles of grocery stores, but today that trend is rapidly declining. As a child and teenager who grew up in Miami, I couldn’t leave Publix after my family’s weekly shopping trip without asking my parents for the latest issue of Tiger Beat or J-14 Magazine, reading the magazine cover to cover by the time we drove home. I think this early exposure to youth-oriented print journalism is what made me interested in this field. Now I opt for more sophisticated magazines like Time or Vogue, but my interest in magazines and newspapers remains.
As more supermarkets across the world continue to follow this trend of removing all print media from their stores, it raises concerns about the future landscape of the media industry.
According to Nieman Lab, as of September 30, the German-owned grocery chain Aldi stopped selling newspapers and magazines altogether. Aldi is the fifth-largest grocery store chain in the U.K. and also has locations in 17 other countries, including the U.S. In addition to Aldi, Starbucks also stopped selling newspapers in all of its U.S. outlets in September but will compensate by offering customers digital access to a few newspapers. This wave of eradicating print media has made its way to U.S. supermarkets as well, with America’s largest supermarket chain, Kroger, announcing they will no longer carry magazines or newspapers as of Oct. 15.
It’s no surprise that print media is becoming significantly less popular with the rise of the digital revolution, but I don’t think modern changes renders it unnecessary. While digital media has many benefits, I don’t believe it can compare to holding a book, a magazine or a newspaper in your hand. Changing every type of media to only digital can make the process of consuming media a very impersonal and monotonous experience. The whole point of journalism is to get people to be interested and engaged in what you have to say, but I worry that a complete shift to online journalism could become like social media, where people mindlessly scroll through content without even appreciating what they’re reading.
Since I first started writing for The Miami Hurricane almost four years ago, I made sure to keep at least one paper copy of each issue I’ve been a part of. So much work and time goes into print that I think it’s important to acknowledge people’s efforts.
Unfortunately, with print media continuing to be viewed as less vital in daily life, people’s work is often being disregarded and devalued. This scaling back of print media also negatively affects small-time newspapers. According to Nieman Lab, because of the the decision made at the corporate level in regards to Kroger stores removing free publications- such as The Independent in Cincinnati or The Flyer in Memphis- are struggling, and those who depend on the news are frustrated. There’s a delicate balance to adjusting businesses to current trends in order to advance in the world, but I think a world devoid of tangible newspapers, magazines and books will be not just boring but also one-dimensional.
Nicole Macias is a senior majoring in English.
Featured image source: Flickr.com, @JonS