Maybe, but only if.....
Yes, I think newspapers will disappear into electronic media, and it's a damned shame. Then again, I'm old, set in my ways and thankful I don't have a birdcage that needs lining.
The Sacramento Bee, one of the state's biggest newspapers has over the years cut down the size of its paper, tripled the advertising-to-news ration, changed to using paper not much thicker than tissue that is poorly cut, with wrinkles cutting through the newsprint, making it illegible. The handwriting is literally on the wall for daily newspapers, I'm afraid.
Yes, it's inevitable. Papers will still continue to exist, I'm sure. Hell, straight razor manufacturers continue to exist. But merely existing doesn't mean survival, necessarily. Survival, in a business sense, means lucrative. Papers aren't lucrative as it is, and eventually, they'll disappear in the sense that they'll no longer be a common sight out and about. They're already far less visible out on the town than they were, say, 5 or 10 years ago.
You can't really compare it to books. The e-book model is still in an extreme degree of flux. It's still emerging, from a workability perspective. But digital news media is already workable, and far more so than hard copy papers are these days.
It's much more comparable to music, where a clear industry model has emerged and is largely taking over the market.
I can tell you that almost no one of my generation reads physical newspapers, apart from small scale local tablets and pamphlets (and even those are getting harder to push). I can also tell you a lot of people in my generation don't even own CD's anymore.
I read all my news online, and get all my music online. I am part of a paper that does go to print, and I love fresh ink on my fingers. I also own a record player, and a modest vinyl collection that I adore for its sound quality.
But those are little pleasures. Things you enjoy when you remove yourself from the technological reality of the world you live in.
If I want walking music, I sure as hell don't bust out a CD player - I plug in to my phone. And if I want to actually read news, I sure as hell don't pop a few quarters into the corner stand - I pull up Pulse on my phone or tablet.
If I want to see how our audience feels about the issue we just put out, I don't look for letters in our mail box, because there won't be any. I check the comments on the website, analytics, or my email. That is where almost all of our feedback will be, because that's how most of our readers are accessing us.
We've been cutting our print run pretty steadily all year, and we still have left over papers in the stands, even as our hits on the website continue to climb. As a matter of fact, the reduction in our print run and the increase in our online presence are very strongly negatively correlated. The readers who have left us on the stands have joined us online.
It's just change, guys. It's not a shame. Who misses the town crier? No one, because having your own paper is more accessible. And in 50 years, who will miss print newspapers? No one, because a global online presence is more accessible. That is the point of journalism.
I will miss ink on my fingers, and I've gone down to the printer more than once and taken a nice, long look at our paper being run off. We have plating and color tests in the office as souvenirs. Because I know I may not get another chance to see it.
But I won't shed a tear when it's gone. More people than ever have access to news, and the more the newspapers die and reincarnate online, the more accessible it becomes. That's what matters.
Last edited by SmokeAndMirrors; 06-24-12 at 07:59 PM.
I think so, but it becomes more of a matter of presentation of the content and the way you would structure the business upon that. People point to bloggers or social media being the way forward, but they are typically derivatives of newspaper content to begin with.
"No religion is true, but some religion, any religion, is politically necessary. Law and morality are insufficient for the large majority of men. Obedience to the law and to the morals are insufficient for making men happy. […]Law and morality are therefore in need of being supplemented by divine rewards and punishments."
Some of the older more respected papers might survive long-term. But I don't think that the majority of them will.
If you build a man a fire, he'll be warm for a day.
If you set a man on fire, he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
I think newspapers will die off, and it worries me. All those reporters who used to dig up dirt on my city hall will not have jobs. There's something intangible that will be lost when people in my community can't look to a single source for news, or expect their neighbors to learn about a funeral in the family from one. We'll be less of a community in some ways.
There are a few national nonprofits who're trying to make a market for investigative journalism, but they can't possibly recreate the vigor with which journalists pursued corruption in the 1930's....or the 1970's.
Newspapers are quickly becoming obsolete. I imagine that they will continue to exist, but only in digital form and many of the free sites will soon become subscription based.
The Los Angeles Times used to be a great paper, but over the last five years, it has shrunk to almost nothing. I used to spend 3-4 hours reading the Sunday paper, today I'm lucky if I spend more than 30 minutes....there just isn't anything to the paper anymore.
Women (Nasty or otherwise) are going to be the reason that Donald Trump is NEVER President!
No, it's on it's last leg right now. Won't survive the next decade.
If there's a god, damn it she won't mind.
If there's a god, baby she won't mind.