Friday, March 20, 2009

A thought: What if the Internet dies?

Several stories recently set me to wondering. What if all the newspapers quit publishing print since "everybody's getting their news online," then the Internet dies? Several technical problems are beginning to impact the Web; meanwhile, advertising doesn't seem to support as many sites are are out there (see "The End of the Free Lunch . . . Again). Internet companies are laying people off and scaling back operations since it seems that online advertising can support only so many sites. Overall, Internet advertising is off so far this year. Meanwhile, Online Media Daily reports concerns that network providers' fooling around with information adds privacy concerns that might challenge the free Internet itself. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Are magazines dying?

Are all magazine dying? No. Only the ones that deserve to, according to The Big Money from Slate. The essay by Gabriel Sherman says that the magazines being closed don't have a reason for being, and he blames greedy publishers. "Great magazines have built enduring relationships with their readers that Facebook and Tumblr still aspire to. But in a race to grow their businesses, publishers put advertising first and editorial excellence second," he writes. An interesting look at the magazine business.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The newspaper is dead; is journalism?

A fascinating, historical, account of revolution in communication is tied to the present in this essay by blogger Clay Shirky. A key point: "Society doesn’t need newspapers. What we need is journalism." He goes to the beginnings of the printing press, pointing out that when movable type was invented, it created all kinds of societal changes and changed the old world forever. He postulates that we are at this place now. The old world -- print -- is being replaced. By what? He says we won't know until well after it happens. A thoughtful essay.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

43% of Americans wouldn't miss their newspaper

A new Pew survey finds that 43% of Americans say they wouldn't miss their daily newspaper if it were gone. I predict that those same 43% will whine about how non-responsive and "crooked" government is once there is no one looking at it.

Thoughts on media and audience

One of the key points that I research is how people use media.  It's not something we think about a lot, but I think it leads us to some new ways of thinking about the media.  One interesting take comes through in a nice essay by Anand Giridharadas in today's New York Times about how foreign reporting isn't what it used to be. He recounts an interview with a couple in India who didn't mind sharing their story with an American reporter but were reluctant to let their friends and neighbors know.  He tells them that stories on India in the Times are read more by people in India than readers in America.  It's true across the board.

Today we use the media in ways we've never thought of before. Not only do I read the Times and Washington Post online daily, but London's Guardian, my hometown newspaper (the Vincennes Sun-Commercial), parts of the Indianapolis Star and Bloomington Herald Times during basketball season, and the Ahmedabad Mirror on a regular basis. That's not counting, which I check several times a day.  I also have all stories on several items, such as new media and newspapers, routinely routed to me so I visit another dozen or so newspaper sites a day.

As Giridharadas indicates, that breadth of audience means we should report differently than in the past.