Sunday, October 16, 2005

The evolution of newspapers

As a journalist with deep roots in the world of technology, I find today's discussions on the future of newspapers in an increasingly electronic, online world to be fascinating.

I'm lucky to be right in the middle of the discussion: I write for a newspaper, I maintain a blog, and my comments on technology and its implications have been published and broadcast widely in recent months.

And as much ink has been spilled about whether the newspaper as we know it will even exist - either in its current form, a modified one, or at all - in a few years, the discussion is far from over.

Frank Ahrens is the Washington Posts's media & entertainment industry reporter. He penned a piece - Ink and Paper or 1s and 0s? - in yesterday's paper. Subtitled Nervous, Newspapers Look to Technology for Alternate Ways to Put the News in Your Hands, the piece does a great job talking about the core issues that are driving the change in newspapers, and some of the future technologies the editors of tomorrow will use to deliver the news to our doorstep.

The Washington Post often has reporters go online to hold chat/Q&A-type sessions with readers. The transcript of this particular session is stored under the Newspapers: The Future headline. Note to any editors who read this: the Post's implementation is leading-edge. Read and learn.

It's important stuff, because we all need some sort of window on the world. And even if we don't subscribe and pretend not to care, the evolution of all media ultimately affects us all.

For a somewhat different perspective on this issue, David Carr published a piece entitled Forget Blogs, Print Needs its own iPod in the October 10th New York Times. The Post is also ran this piece on the 12th: Wall Street Journal To Narrow Its Pages. I'll post links to more pieces like this as they hit print - or the web.

Your turn: Where are newspapers headed? Why? What will have to happen to ensure their survival and growth?

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8 comments:

sage said...

Hi, from Michelle's... Where are newspaper's heading? I think the electronic world will change newspaper's business, but I don't seem them being replaced. What is important is qualifing the information we get off the net--perhaps this will be a new role for the journalist.

Zee said...

Being a former "pr flack" I'm always really interested in the question of 'where is the future of news headed." Oddly enough, I find myself gravitating toweards the printed paper - there is something about it that feels real and whole to me. That said, in the grand scheme of things, it is not very efficient. By all accounts, it's outdated before it even hits the streets.

My guess is, the printed paper and Internet news sources will coexist for a long time; at least until we get to such a point as the Internet is piped into everyone's house as standard, like broadcast TV stations. At that point, I can see broadcast formats and the internet coexisting/competing, with only the magazine as an alternate source of news/entertainment.

Kross-Eyed Kitty said...

Hello from Michele's!
I have to be honest, I don't have time to read the newspaper. I love the Saturday Star, and once in a while, I'll read it from cover to cover. (But, I'll admit...my main reason for buying the Saturday Star is for those crossword puzzles. I'll work on it all week sometimes!)
I watch the news everynight before going to bed, at work I'll look on-line, so I feel I'm fairly up to date with world and local news. I had the paper delivered for free for 13 weeks earlier this year, and it made me feel incredibly guilty every time I took an unread paper to the recycling.

IndyPindy said...

Hi, neat blog, my mom will come back and check it out.

Michele sent me.

Michelle Pessoa said...

I'll make sure to check out the articles you referenced.

Thanks for visiting my blog earlier today!

doug said...

Hey C, I for one will always read a newspaper - used to read three to five a day just to keep it balanced anyway! LOL! ....take some from here, some from there... filter it well and get the whole story.
At the same time, my home page is of course Googlenews..... si it's a nice complement to being able to hold in one's hand and read cursorily at will when needed...

By the way - Michele says Hi!

Rachel - Wicked Ink said...

My hope ( because I don't feel educated enough to hold an opinion) is that as fast as news happens, that newspapers will continue to provide us with the news. It has lasted side by side the radio and television news, and I hope it will not be completely evapourated by the internet.

Its really hard to wrap fish and chips in a used monitor screen.

melinama said...

Visiting via Michele. Have a great weekend.