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Newsprint [Mar. 18th, 2009|11:11 pm]
Yesterday, the Seattle PI printed its last daily edition. It exists now only as a news site on the web, employing only a fraction of its old reporting staff.

A while back, I'd said that I expected newspapers to vanish in the near future. I pegged it at five years, though that was a while ago and it's now about 4.5 remaining. To clarify, I'm thinking about daily printed newspapers, not coupon circulars and free ad gazettes.

It's an interesting battle between the archaic(?) machinery of distributing printed news versus the romanticism surrounding the product. The web is instant, two-way, and low-cost or free. Newspapers, though, represent entrenched journalism and standards that are not widespread on the web (yet). Will our need for established channels let them hang on in the face of superior technology? Will they adapt and evolve, as the Seattle P-I is doing, bringing their journalism ethic to the web and challenging other sites on their own terms?

I'm not anxious to see a demise of newspapers by any means but it's what I see in the cards. Perhaps I'm too cynical and quick to dismiss them... What do you think?

Poll #1367984 Print Newspapers

Most daily print newspapers will be gone...

even sooner!
within the next 4-5 years, yeah.
within the next 5-8 years.
within the next 8-15 years.
much later than you'd expect!

[User Picture]From: antimon
2009-03-19 07:04 am (UTC)
printed newspaper doesn't nessicarily mean quality look at the tabloids, and isn't teh Post generlaly recarded as rubish? nto all papers are created equal...but the reason news papers are still around has little to do with the quality of their printed materials, the reason they are around is...:

Convinience. people do not all have web enabled cel phones, nor do they want to struggle with the tiny scrans even if they do, they do nto always want to whip out their laptops or have an internet signel available. Peopel can't take a dump and comfortablly juggle electronics, you can't fold a computer and read it one handed while sipping coffee reclined in yoru chair.

news papers are generlaly allowed at yoru desk while surfign 3rd party non work related websites isn't, nto to mention break rooms.

The technology to replace newspapers isn't yet wide spread

Until we get things liek teh Kindle 2 or better alal star trek like datapads, large, easy to read screans with extensive battery life, high portability and low cost ie if you leave it someplace you wont curse, onlien sites are suppliments to printed material not a repalcement for.

sure web sites are mroe up to date and can be updated and have news changed 24/7 but ti isn't as convinient to access in as many palces.

I think you'll see papers offerign PDF versions of their papers for downloading and offlien viewing first then we'll gradually ween off the paper as cheap portable, durable electronic replica's are produced.

they are just now making foldable paper thin lcd's...we're getting there
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[User Picture]From: nicodemusrat
2009-03-19 07:19 am (UTC)
printed newspaper doesn't nessicarily mean quality look at the tabloids

Good point... I was really overlooking tabloids. But I hope that's not to suggest that the newspapers will necessarily head that direction, more that these are going to be some of the holdouts.

Convenience / technology

This, I think, is the crux of the matter. Paper is still incredibly convenient in its portability and reliability. It's downside is the distribution overhead and lack of updates. (Those who keep scrapbooks might argue that's not a downside?)

It's a race on this front. Paper's not improving but technology is. I may be jumping the gun, though, on my guesses at the rate of progress and --also key-- its adoption.
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