Proof that concern about their medium’s continuing relevance is real among newspaper journos: this column in today’s Sydney Morning Herald by opinion editor Tim Dick. He makes the point that news organisations will in future be less about breaking news than providing context and in-depth analysis. Which is something that news organisations are finally starting to get – probably about five years too late.
Remember, like, 10 years ago, when they used to tell us that one day we’d all be reading newspapers on lightweight electronic tablets? And we were all like, “No way, man! Paper rules!” And then we laughed and went back to whacking off to low-res 30-sec porn preview clips on Netscape. Well, the electronic tablet of the future is here – which means we’re living in the future! Finally!
It’s called the Kindle, and it’s made by Amazon. You can read books on it aswell as newspapers. It’s a clunky looking piece of tech, but by all accounts it works a treat, and it’s becoming an increasingly popular way for Yanks to get their news. You can’t get it in Australia yet, but it can’t be long.
Could this be the kind of new media/old media-straddling device that saves publishing?
No one really knows what’s going to happen to the print publishing business in 2009. But that doesn’t stop people (like me) trying! One thing is for sure: if 2008 was when years of largely ignored change finally caught up to the industry, 2009 will be the year that really decides what kind of print product, if any, can survive.
Magazines have had a particularly shithouse 2008 and you’d expect casualties in ’09, possibly in the first quarter, as the full extent of the depressed ad market kicks in. Here’s a story in Media Life Magazine that gives some insight into what titles may, and may not, survive. This bit in particular seems to ring true: “The news categories are vulnerable. Any magazine or category that is essentially data-driven or news-driven, where the web can offer more current, more frequent access to information, is vulnerable.”
Here’s a great post which kind of sums up the resistance to new media that many old-media types feel. Frankly, I find myself siding a little with the old-media types on many of the points, but that’s probably because I haven’t yet quite weened myself off newsprint and glossy pages.