Monday, June 30, 2008

Are newspapers going away?

I wanted to stand up and applaud when I read a post by Steven Hodson at Mashable who refuted Robert Scoble's opinion on the death of newspapers. Scoble, probably one of the most well read bloggers out there, recently remarked that his son would be probably be witness to the end of the newspaper industry.

I won't rehash, Hodson's post, but I highly recommend taking a look at it. Check out the following quote from his post:

The fact is that newspapers aren’t going anywhere and chances are they will
still be around by the time your grandkid’s children are having kids. Sure they
are facing some hard economic times much of which is of their doing, but you
don’t kill over a $45 billion industry within a generation especially if that
industry contrary to popular belief is still growing.

This is something I've discussed with a number of individuals before. Newspapers and other forms of traditional media outlets are not going away. They will have to adapt, but they are not going away. Take for example the advent of radio. When radio came out people were certain that newspapers would go away. The rapidity of radio news seemed to negate the need for newspapers who were reporting the news a day after it happened. Yet, newspapers survived. Then along came TV, and with it speculation that it would replace radio and newspapers. Still, radio and newspapers escaped demise. Finally, the Internet was born. Now users can read the news, listen to podcasts and online radio and even watch videos and TV shows. Surely, this is the end-all for other forms of media, right? Let's see...I listen to the radio every day, read a hard copy newspaper every day, watch the news nightly and am on the Internet throughout the day. True, maybe I'm an anomaly, but I use these diferent forms of media because I get different content from each one.

Like I said, traditional media will have to adapt to the changing nature of information sharing, and they are already doing so. Most major newspapers already have all their content online for free (The Wall Street Journal is an exception). You can listen to radio online now. Many journalists also blog. I've even started to see some publications on Twitter and Facebook. Reuters also recently reported that newspapers may even be free in the future.

Hey, and don't forget about the oldest medium out there...books.


Elder Bryan Carpenter said...

Adam, I totally agree. I just started teaching an Intro to News Writing class. Oddly, only one student in the class is going into print journalism. I commented on that and one of the broadcast journalism students said, "That's because newspapers are dying. Everyone is going in to broadcast instead." I gave almost the same pitch you give in this post. I'm going to point the students to it so they know I'm not the only one with this opinion!

Anonymous said...

Adam, last week Axel, CEO of Xeequa also blogged about Real reason for the media meltdown His thoughts - unless the media industry finds new ways to create premium content in excellent quality and delivers it instantly over the internet to my email or RSS feed - assembled to my personal interests and needs, with no advertising and from an organization that is exclusively paid by the readers, not by sponsors - an organization that has only one attribute: TRUST.

csrollyson said...


Great points here, I think you're right on. The thing is, many enthusiasts of new "technology" or innovation (Scoble) fall in love and lose their heads. I like the way Chris Anderson puts it, "We live in an 'And World' - not an 'Or World'" - we mash up the old and the new. We rarely jettison the old.

I have been in discussions with publishing and media executives over the past few months, and their business models need serious refurbishment. You are correct that they will not go away, but chances are they will have to reinvent themselves significantly. More on this in my review of The Long Tail

All the best-

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

We get the New York Times and our two local papers and would be crushed if we didn't.

Thanks for your help with the dream cruise and your comments. :-D