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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: 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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