Sunday, 6 April 2008

Death of newspapers?

I read a Steve Outing, post recently in which he wrote about finally cancelling his local newspaper. Steve writes for the Editor & Publisher Online and I'm a fairly new convert to his blog, which by the way is excellent.
Anyway, if a writer who specialises in the newspaper industry cancels his subscription you just have to take notice and ask why.
Steve says his reason is simple - he gets all the news he needs from either TV or radio, or the web, email, RSS and other sources. In his words: "Most of the information that comes in the daily print edition is not new to me."
So where does that leave the newspaper industry? After all, it's easy to knock papers at the moment but what we really need to do is find a way of making them work once again.
Steve's idea would see newspapers being coming community resources with free newsletters. Personally, I wouldn't like to see the business case for that one... but I do think newspapers have a future, just not as paid-for publications.
I also think they will move towards more analytical, thought and comment platforms. And I think we'll all be reading them on some version of a Kindle anyway so no more 'dead tree' media.
Yes the newspaper industry has had a smack in the face from advertisers who no longer need to use our papers unless they choose.
But as journalists we've had a fairly smooth ride up til now; there's nothing wrong with competition so long as you stay one step ahead of it.
The only way to do that is to open our eyes and accept we have to change; if we don't then we may as well all pack up and head into the world of ennui that is PR right now.
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