For those who believe newsprint is going to go on and on providing news and great content for it’s readers read a great post on the death of print by Clay Shirky. His post is a well reasoned and articulate obituary of the increasingly beleaguered newsprint industry.
In the post Clay talks about how chaotic the time before printing took off in the 1500’s and the time after was until the new model of journalism and printing had been worked out.
and how at the time what appeared as little uninteresting changes could in hindsight to be seen as major changing points in history.
Does that mean he thinks that print is going to go out of print?
The short answer is he’s clear that we’re losing news on paper. From that we lose the newspapers themselves as “news” papers.
They may transform into lifestyle news but it seems likely that newspapers need to start looking more closely at how to strategically integrate the Internet into what they do. That is to embrace not just Facebook, blogging and web sites but to include Twitter and new Internet discoveries. Plus find ways of paying for their journalists before the day comes when the printing presses are moved to museums, just as the cotton looms in Manchester were.
Clay believes that the next few decades will change how journalism is used. I don’t believe newsprint as news has that long to go. After all, they are completely unable to compete with Twitter news now.
Once access to Twitter via a mobile, cell phone or devices like Kindle becomes widespread newspapers will wither further. Advertisers will continue to leave and the numbers who will advertise will continue to drop. The papers rates will drop as they become more aggressive on pricing to retain or get new advertisers which means income will drop and with it the ability to continue.