Newspapers Will Die, But When?

March 03 2008 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future
Category: Business & Work   Year: General   Rating: 10

A Zogby poll released last week shows that ” two thirds of Americans – 67% – believe traditional journalism is out of touch with what Americans want from their news.”

The same survey found that “two thirds (64%) are dissatisfied with the quality of journalism in their communities.”

The culprit? Of course it’s the web. According to Zogby “nearly a third (32%) said Internet sites are their most trusted source for news and information, followed by newspapers (22%), television (21%) and radio (15%).”

Having spent time in the small-town newspaper world and online media, consider me utterly unsurprised: traditional print media is beyond inefficient.

Paper and printing costs are expensive. Distribution costs are significant. Physical offices cost a lot of money. Good, motivated, and affordable local writers are very hard to find.

Yes, it will take a while for those used to reading their daily paper to make the switch to digital, but that day will come. Computer interfaces will become more user-friendly and less taxing on the eyes. Cell phones with mini-projectors will allow for simple and elegant web surfing anywhere. Vested local bloggers, photographers and videographers will produce and aggregate much richer information than a small team of paid reporters. Paper will go up in price as the environmental costs are factored in.

Now, this does not mean that the companies that own newspapers will necessarily go out of business. Rather, they’ll be converted into social media companies with digital distribution.

The form of this distribution may even closely resemble that of a traditional newspaper. New electronic paper interfaces will perhaps offer a new way to experience the same old thing. But no matter how it feels, that will be a switch to digital distribution that saves the parent company a hefty sum.

I agree with Tech Crunch’s Duncan Riley when he predicts that “it will be a long and slow death”, which he bases in large part on the fact that “we’re already seeing massive across the board downsizing now in print media.”

In your opinion, which year will mark the widespread end of paper and ink newspaper publishing in the U.S?

Paper & Ink newspapers will cease to exist in the year:

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Comment Thread (1 Response)

  1. Also, the idea that a single person/corporation dictates what is considered “news” is absurd. You think I trust the head of NewsCorp enough to entrust him with the information I receive about my country and my world on a daily basis? Come on. I say good riddance to old media.

    Posted by: rasberry   March 03, 2008
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