GranlundCartoon_notextinct

Did you know that this week is National Newspaper Week? Don’t worry—most people had no idea.

Despite the fact that National Newspaper Week has nearly passed (it ends tomorrow), the majority of Americans probably have no idea that it even exists. The week-long “holiday” has been happening for 74 years and is intended to observe the importance of newspapers to both large and small communities.

While print newspapers are past their prime, the truth of the matter is that National Newspaper Week is still highly relevant. It might be time for a rebranding though. The term “newspaper” carries connotations that match the dinosaur in the above editorial cartoon provided by the Newspaper Association Managers to promote the event.

Older Americans—both people who read (or used to read) print newspapers and the journalists and staff who work at (or used to work at) print newspaper organizations—remember print newspapers with a sense of nostalgia. Younger Americans who grew up with smartphones and tablets have a completely different perception of print newspapers. Why take the time to get a print newspaper when it takes seconds to find the same information on your iPhone?

Semantics matter in the news industry today. The lines are blurry and news publishers are deciding how they want people to refer to them. Future plc, which owns Gizmodo, TechRadar, and more, wants to be called a content creator rather than a publisher. Bloggers are now considered to be media in the United States and have the same First Amendment rights as journalists.

We’ve come a long way in the past several years. Just a couple of years ago, traditional news organizations and large companies didn’t even want to refer to their blogs as “blogs.” Instead, they used more clever titles like “Insights” and “Buzz.” In time, audiences realized that there was a difference between casual, hobby, and amateur bloggers versus Authoritative Content bloggers. People actively look for the “blog” link on news organization sites and company websites. In fact, some well-known and highly-respected news websites are built on blogging platforms and publish only blog content. Just as the lines are blurry between what news organizations and journalists are called, there is also ambiguity over what the type of content and the sites and distribution channels where the content is published are called.

Unfortunately, there are no clear-cut rules or definitions in the news and content publishing industry anymore. One person’s “news site” is another person’s “blog” just as one person’s “publisher” is the same as another person’s “content creator.” Similarly, “newspaper” refers specifically to print newspapers to one person while another person’s “newspaper” refers to all of the distribution channels of a specific news source.

As an Authoritative Content publisher, it can be confusing to know what to call yourself and your content. Not only does National Newspaper Week need a rebranding, but a rebranding and redefining of all of the terms used to refer to “news” needs to happen as well. Do you agree?

Image: Newspaper Association Managers