For hundreds of years, the people of the world had only the printed word--newspapers--to learn the news of the day.
Then came the radio, a century ago, to provide a more immediate account of what was happening. Radio provided a choice of options for becoming informed--hear the news, or read the news.
Soon after, there was television, and with it the ability to watch, as well as hear, or read, about current events.
And now there is again something new, via the Internet, that gives us the ability to read, to hear, to watch the news--all from a single source. The something new is the online newspaper.
The most popular and prestigious is The Huffington Post, which since its birth in 2005, has grown in readership to 100 million viewers per month.
Yesterday, the Pulitzer Prizes for 2012 were announced, and The Huffington Post is a recipient for a series of articles about wounded veterans.
This is especially noteworthy because it is the first time in the 96-year history of The Pulitzer Prize that an online-only newspaper has been so honored. Another online publication, Politico, also won an award.
These Pulitzer Prizes are a milestone on the road to greater success for online publications. These prizes are recognition of the quality journalism emanating from the likes of The Huffington Post and Politico.
Yesterday's Pulitzer announcement was a sad sign of the times for printed newspapers. While The New York Times took home two Pulitzer Prizes, the two newspapers with the largest Monday to Friday circulation--USA Today and The Wall Street Journal--were conspicuous in their absence from the list of Pulitzer Prize winners.
When online newspapers first came on the scene, and began to take away readers from conventional dailies, it was said by many that there would always be a place for printed newspapers because of all the good work they did in the form of investigative reporting.
But now, as circulation figures have dwindled, and newsroom staffing has been cut, that investigative reporting has been greatly diminished; and online newspapers are filling the void.
Good news yesterday for the future of online newspapers. Not such good news for printed papers. The 2012 Pulitzer Prizes are proof positive that--in the journalistic world--"the times they are a changin'".