Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The Death Of Print

I studied journalism at university, and between shorthand classes and tutorials on how to write quality news copy, we had numerous discussions over our four-year course debating the future of print journalism.
Broadly speaking, there were two camps - those who felt that print's days were numbered, and those who felt that so long as newspapers were cheap and disposable, they would remain a relevant medium.
Generally, I'm in the second group - newsprint's disposablity is its major draw. If you accidentally leave a newspaper on a train, get it soaked in a rain shower or drop it in the bath, you might be disappointed, but it's not the end of the world. You've lost something worth between 20p and £2.
Drop your Kindle in the bath or leave it on the train and, not only are you an idiot, but you're a few hundred quid worse off.
Ross Dawson expects the UK to be a newspaper-free zone by 2019.
Nine more years of print journalism? I don't see it.
Particularly at a local level, newspapers provide a vital service that hasn't yet been replicated online. While the majority of the population might have internet access, online news platforms don't yet have the same penetration that newspapers do. And people remain loathe to pay for online content.
Maybe I'm wrong, maybe the revolution will be over before I turn 40. The publishing company I work for now provides very few printed products, having moved largely to online delivery or electronic documents. But we're in a high-value niche market where clients are geared towards such methods.
I believe that newspapers will be around for another few decades at least.
Perhaps most importantly of all - you can't wrap your chips in an iPad and you can't dry out wet shoes with a rolled-up Kindle.

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