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The Great Debate Print vs. Online Journalism

Written by 6:08 am Journalism & Mass Communication

The Great Debate: Print vs. Online Journalism

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In this important debate between print vs online journalism, we discuss the pros and cons of both fields. While print journalism is a traditional approach towards media it is tangible and online journalism being the modern media is more interactive and keeps on updating. They both offer benefits that cater to different audiences altogether.

In this article, we will learn about print vs online journalism, the difference between both, and whether you can build a career in journalism or not. So, continue reading this article to know more about this industry and to start your lucrative career.

What is Print journalism?

Print journalism is nothing but investigation and reporting events in newspapers, magazines, or any other printed form to a larger number of readers. Print journalism is one of the oldest forms of journalism and I still grow rapidly. It offers a great career option for individuals wanting a career in journalism. It is one of the most respected professions all over the world. Through print media, people can get into careers like designing, editing, or writing news articles.
Due to the trend of online magazines and news articles, the scope of print journalism has increased significantly. Even if print journalism is expanding its horizon on online platforms, the skills required to work in journalism are not compromised. Therefore, it’s important for students wanting to pursue journalism to be skilled and equipped with everything that is needed in journalism.

What is Digital or Online Journalism?

The practice of only reporting for the online audience is called digital or online journalism. With the help of online mediums, journalists broadcast events happening in real-time. They have to be really quick when it comes to researching, bringing in events, or processing all of this information.
Digital journalism is the same as print and broadcast journalism but needs another set of skills and education for the digital space. These professionals need to have an idea and knowledge of the tools and audience segmentation to properly make their news visible and reach the correct audience.

Differences Between Print & Online Journalism

Print media is more for local audiences and specific types of readers when it comes to the distribution of news or language preferences. On the other hand, digital media has a global audience resulting in a larger number of target audiences due to the internet that allows anyone to access any content anywhere in the world.
Here is the table showing the difference between print and online journalism:


Print Journalism

Online Journalism


form of media is printed in the form of newspapers, magazines, or journals.
These are tangible and have a local audience.

with the help of the internet and online media is called digital media. This
news is created, distributed, and accessed to the internet on different
online platforms.


Print media
is tangible and can be physically held. They are in the form of newspapers or

journalism is intangible and can be accessed through the internet and
electronic devices. It is displayed on screens in the form of videos, images,
audio, or text.


Print media
is produced by traditional printing processes. It is a physical process. It
also reaches the readers through physical distribution.

Digital or
online media create content through online mediums. It is processed,
produced, and distributed online and can be accessed only online, which makes
it intangible.


media need to be accessed physically from the time of production to the time
of distribution. You can find these magazines and newspapers in bookstores or

Digital media
with the help of the internet gives direct and quick access to information
and entertainment. You can check this news out on electronic devices like
mobile, TVs, and computers.


The cost includes
production expenses like machines, inks, and other materials used for
printing. A subscription is required for access f these newspapers or a
direct purchase from the store.

The digital
journalism involves the cost content creation, infrastructure, and online
presence through online platforms. There are some online content that can be
accessed for free, but some may need a subscription or payment for premium


There is not
really a scope for the readers to engage with the content as print journalism
is static and has no interactive feature.

The digital
media is more of an interactive form of journalism. Viewers can share, like,
and write comment about their views on the event. Online journalism can be in
different forms like a post, video, or even an audio which offers an
interactive experience to the readers.


Many times,
the news reaching the readers may not be up to date as printing,
distribution, and delivery to the audience may take time.

journalism provides real-time and live updates. Due to the internet news
updates can be easily shared and quickly published for the readers to read.


Print media
can be stored and preserved for future reference and therefore has a longer
lifespan comparatively. They can be collected and accessed even after several

Due to the evolving
digital era where technology changes every day, they might not have a long
lifespan as they can be updated, replaced, or even removed quickly.


There can be
waste generation on a large scale as the print media for production needs
ink, paper, and other materials. There is a major resource consumption

Due to the
less need for tangible materials, there is less environmental footprint. But
there might be a lot of energy consumption that can be considered.


journalism or print media is mostly text and image based. There are limited
multimedia capabilities. They lack videos and audio.

journalism or digital media is image, text, audio, and video based. They
include animation with audio which also makes it more interactive and gives a
better experience compared to print media.


When it comes
to audience reach print media has a local audience or a specific audience
based on the locality and language.

Due to the
internet, digital media has a larger audience giving it a global reach. They
can also access any information from anywhere in the world.


in print media usually are through printed ads, or added in newspapers,
magazines, or brochures. They are not attractive and are in static format
making them less interactive.

There are
several ads that can be advertised in different forms like video ads,
sponsored, or pop-ups. It gives the audience an interactive and engaging
experience through their ads.

Archiving and

Print media
physical storage to keep the past publications. Retrieving includes locating
and accessing physical copies from libraries or personal collections.

Through the
help of online databases, search engines, or digital libraries it is easy and
quick to store and retrieve data with few clicks.


Print media
is portable as it allows readers to carry newspapers, magazines, or books to
read in different locations.

Digital or
online media is very portable as the news or events can be accessed with the
help of electronic devices that the readers can carry anywhere and


There is a
limited adaptability when it comes to print media. There is very little scope
to correct or reprint if there are any corrections once published.

Online media
gives quick access to instant corrections, updates, or additions to the
published news.


Examples of
print media include newspapers like Hindustan Times and The New York Times,
Magazines like The Vogue, books from various genres, and brochures or flyers.

Examples of
online media include online news like CNN, social media platforms like
Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, and Podcasts platforms like Spotify.

How to Be a Journalist?

Journalism is a reputable career option. There are various other fields that you can learn about and even pursue once you are in this competitive media industry. To get into this industry and start as a fresher eventually leading you to a successful and lucrative career in journalism you will have to equip yourself with the correct set of skills that are needed in this industry. From writing, researching, and editing you will have to know everything. 

So, to start a career on the right foot AAFT Online offers their Ultimate Journalism Certificate program. This program is for students interested in making their career in the field of journalism. AAFT Online provides mentors who are industry leaders, their curriculum is very well-designed and comprehensive. Students learn about various important topics like mobile journalism, digital journalism, broadcasting, and tips & techniques of reporting.

Careers in Journalism

There are several career opportunities in journalism. Once
you are equipped with all the necessary skills for journalism you can start
your career in this industry. Educating yourself in the filed of journalism
opens up a wide range of opportunities like a news reporter, broadcast
journalist, copy editor, photojournalist, and more which lead to a lucrative
career. Read more.


To conclude, in this article, we learned about the difference between online journalism vs print journalism. Even if they are different from each other and have very different audience and might differ in the number of audiences, they both are a very important part of our day-to-day life as many start their day by reading the news. If you are looking to start a career in journalism,  you can get your self-educated and skilled to live as a successful journalist.

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