Monday, April 6, 2009

more on the future of news

No one knows what lies ahead. Not even WaPo's Michael Kinsley, who ruminates on the newspaper of the future here.

.... As many have pointed out, more people are spending more time reading news and analysis than ever before. They're just doing it online. For centuries people valued the content of newspapers enough to pay what it cost to produce them (either directly or by patronizing advertisers). We're in a transition, destination uncertain. Arianna Huffington may wake up some morning to find The Washington Post gone forever and the nakedness of her ripoff exposed to the world. Or she may be producing all her own news long before then. Who knows? But there is no reason to suppose that when the dust has settled, people will have lost their appetite for serious news when the only fundamental change is that producing and delivering that news has become cheaper.

Maybe the newspaper of the future will be more or less like the one of the past, only not on paper. More likely it will be something more casual in tone, more opinionated, more reader-participatory. Or it will be a list of favorite Web sites rather than any single entity. Who knows? Who knows what mix of advertising and reader fees will support it? And who knows which, if any, of today's newspaper companies will survive the transition?


Bianca AvanceƱa said...

Hi Prof. Kelley!
Despite being part of the digital generation, I consider myself partially a Luddite (thank you Prof. Long for the term), truly devastated at the thought of the extinction of newspapers!
In a discussion in my other comm class, we talked about newspapers presenting the exact same news online for free, when the actual paper has to be bought! no wonder people are getting their news online! maybe they should start charging for online subscription or access :)

Rock Stead Easy said...

We clearly are in a transition, as Kinsley puts it. The beautifully strange part is that nobody really knows what to do. The future of newspapers is not about what newspapers will "survive" but what news will adapt and seek alternatives in response to reader's demands.

People (who have access to computers) are having a hay day. Music can be downloaded without cost. News is free. Movies on Youtube are easily accessible... The real transition will be how these newspaper companies, like the music industry, will sell their product.What is the user's willingness to pay for quality music?

What is the user's willingness to pay for quality news?

Lauren Duncan said...

Hi Professor Kelley,

It is just a matter of time until newspapers only appear online, or in some electronic form. With new technology being developed by the minute there is no way to deny that newspapers will soon be electronic sources.

One of the main issues here is that newspapers did not initially charge for access on their websites. How can they start charging now after X amount of years not charging? People would be outraged, and most likely some company would create a site where one can get all the news for free to spite the newspapers charging people for access.

As for now, I will cherish the printed newspaper because there is nothing like holding a paper and flipping through the pages at a coffee shop. Doing that on a computer seems to make you automatically less of a social person. Or does it? You can't give someone else a piece of the paper off the computer. However, in this day and age i wonder if people are just as likely to strike up a conversation with someone in front of a computer rather than a newspaper.