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Updated 11:00am - Nov 26, 2014

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Coastal Voices Guest Opinion: Internet valuable information source

I am commenting in regard to Triplicate Editor Richard Wiens’ Feb. 3 column titled “Remember when news was news?”

A person can indeed find an abundance of information at their fingertips with the advent of the Internet age. Apparently newspapers are reluctant to change and adapt to meet the demands of this new age. The Internet has been an undeniable medium for the exchange of ideas for nearly two decades now.

Perhaps that is why newspapers are failing across the country. They are plagued by the fact that a person can receive 90 percent of their content with the free click of a button. For example, Wednesday’s Triplicate last week contained 20 news stories. Only five of them (25 percent) were local stories that could not be found anywhere else, while 75 percent of them were Associated Press stories that could be found from multiple sources online.

The only reason I and many others read the Triplicate is for local news and opinion. I find that I can get far more detailed and useful regional news from online sources. Throughout history industries have had to adapt with the advance of technology. The Internet and information age has provided a venue for anyone to exercise their right of free speech. A simple Google search can provide me with a multitude of news reports, expert opinions, and layperson “blogging” on any event or subject in the world.

Fundamental economics tells us that an increase in the supply of a service with unchanged demand will lower the price of that service. News sources unable to adapt to the changing market conditions will not survive. This is nothing to fear, unless you are one of the unfortunate who do not adapt. These changes also provide entrepreneurial opportunity.

I fear the potential answer to Mr. Wiens’ original question, “Where is America headed when it comes to getting its news?” I read recently that Dan Rather is pleading with the White House for government intervention in the media. Another bailout I suppose. That’s the new trend. If an industry cannot adapt to changes in market conditions, they just plead with the government for a bailout and stick their loses to the citizens.

What happens when the government is the only source for news? This would take us back to a time when everyone gets their news from the same source. Though I doubt very many would be happy to see that happen. Thank goodness we now live in an age where anyone can have an audience instead of the “grand old days” when only a few could. In those days, the only hope you had of getting your opinion heard was to get a letter to the editor printed. The only other choice would be to print and distribute your own media.

This letter probably won’t even be printed because it is over 400 words. At least now I have the choice to freely distribute it online. I currently do not subscribe to The Triplicate because it is available online and I can wait 24 hours for the local content that interests me. I would gladly pay for a subscription (or membership) if it were to be available online and had 75 percent local content and 25 percent Associated Press, instead of the reverse.

Ryan Young is a Fort Dick resident.

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