The age of digital media is  here knocking right on our door. Like it or not, journalists and media practitioners have to face it head on.

With the advent of internet, the main stream media and the print media are struggling with a loss of advertising revenue and audience, especially amongst the young generation.

Is this an omnious sign of the beginning of the end of journalism?

In the United Kingdom, the loss of advertising revenues has plummeted. In 2017 for example, newspaper advertising  have fallen to £1.9 billion (11.2 per cent of market share), while significantly, digital advertising spend grew from £7.1 billion (47.5 per cent) in 2014 to a prominence above all legacy media at £9 billion (53.8 per cent) in 2017

Some 250 local newspaper  — approximately one-quarter of the UK local newspaper market) —  announced losses of £248.7 million in the first six months of 2013.

The newspapers are facing challenging situation and the industry needs the support of all sectors to survive especially the private sectors, private sectors, GLCs and readers.

Overall, advertising revenue in leading newspapers in the United States has been in decline since 2008.

How many still read newspapers every morning? Is newspaper only for those above 40 years old?

Recently, on November 30, the country’s oldest newspaper, Malay Mail, which began publishing on December 14, 1896 marked the end of its 122-year-old print history. The once popular newspaper  went fully digital on December 2.

National newspapers like Berita Harian, The Star, Harian Metro, The New Straits Times, and Utusan Malaysia are no longer printed in Sarawak since last year.

In fact, national papers are no longer distributed in the State, creating serious socio-political implications, especially in terms of dissemination of information and national integration.

During the media industry’s  heyday, 60,000 copies of national papers were printed here.

The pertinent question to ponder, is there still light at the end of the tunnel for print media, especially newspapers?

Some regards newspaper industry as a sunset industry.

New York Times CEO Mark Thompson told CNBC in early February this year that the newspaper may have only another decade of life.

“I believe at least 10 years is what we can see in the U.S. for our print products,” Thompson was quoted as saying by the TV station.

He said he’d like to have the print edition “survive and thrive as long as it can.”

However, at least the  Malaysian Press Institute (MPI) Chief Executive Officer,  Datuk Dr Chamil Wariya has faith in newspaper.

The print media won’t extinct from this world. The former editor of Utusan Malaysia and News Division Head of TV3 said, he still has faith in the future of print media.

The print media would be able to survive amidst the challenges from the social and new media, but the industry players cannot expect high circulation figure of up to half million once enjoyed by certain newspapers in the country.

Therefore, he suggested, the publishers and editors has to go for niche market like business and politics to attract new readers.

Journalists are facing, like many other professions, a digitalization of their business. Like it or not, journalists and reporters have to adjust accordingly with the change in the media landscape.

Social media practitioners are known for spreading news without verification. Actually, now everybody can be a journalist, at least as a citizen journalist. Fears of misinformation and distorted information which has strong tendency to shape public perception existed.

As professional, journalists are required to check and recheck before submitting any story written to the editors or subeditors.

What remains vital are the core values and cardinals of journalism: to filter the information gathered from sources, edit, check and recheck, make analysis, and objective comments.

The fundamentals of checking facts and verification have existed for decades and won’t become obsolete.

This is the main pillar of professional journalism. Journalists are always advised to verify accuracy of facts to be published ,and get comments from relevant parties, apart from eschewing from any speculation.

They have to write based on facts and proper research.  Unlike social media users, journalists should abide by the journalism ethics and responsibility.

As for social media practitioners,  they at times abused the speed and effectiveness of the media by spreading fake news which can create havoc and distruct the social fabric of a harmonious multiethnic society like in Malaysia.

Therefore, in other to survive and stay relevant in the fast changing world, the Chief Minister suggested on Monday, that the media adapt and use new technologies, including a possibility of using artificial intelligence in the future.

Apart from that, he advised the media players not to write anything that is incorrect, fake, and untrue.

Arguing that if the media don’t’ change, they would be left behind, Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari  Tun Openg therefore said, journalists would have to interface with technology, which is a big challenge.

Above all,  in order to survive and become relevant in the digital world, it is pertinent for the newspaper to uphold its integrity and credibility by reporting objectively and professionally, without fear and favour. –Sarawakvoice