Pointed towards Newspapers: an industry in crisis, which opens: ‘Newspapers are dead but it will take a while for the body to cool down.’
“It’s unofficially official: news print is dead. Behind closed doors, web editors are united in their predictions of doom.
“These particular closed doors were at Cambridge-MIT Institute’s digital technologies project last Friday, where the big guns of British and US media were discussing the future of online news.”
Some juicy quotes:
The resistance to change ‘borders on pathological’, according to one news rep. The news industry is in ‘profound denial’ about the crisis. Another admitted the industry is completely out of touch with consumer expectations of online news.
To make things worse, the industry’s executives still don’t understand what the web is for: “So it doesn’t make money, and it’s not a back up for the newspaper?”
Hmm, it’s hard for the papers. After all, you think you’ve got the model working, then something new comes along. You set up a really good webpage. Then people want to do comments on it. Oh all right. Then you do a blog, and people want to do comments on it. (See this Guardian Online blog post to see the problems that brings.) Then people want blogs. Then podcasts.
With all these things, are they passing fads or real innovations destined to be ingrained into our daily lives? And is the right reaction really just to roll over to them?
Take a topic like the excellent Jamie’s School Dinners TV series. At the Guardian, Felicity Lawrence (the consumer affairs editor) has written a terrific series of articles exposing how the food industry really works. (As soon as you do any journalism in this area, you find that it’s a real sausage factory - you’re less eager to sample the output once you know how it’s made.)
Question: how should the web showcase those stories? What’s the best way? Should they be adjuncts? Can you form anything around them, or should it be for online activism, where newspapers stand aside? That’s the sort of problem newspapers face.