Saturday, April 4, 2015

On the future of news

I read an article in USA Today (Ironically, I didn't actually read it in the paper. I read it online, but at one point it appeared in print) about Michael Wolff's somewhat optimistic attitude toward the future of the newspaper.

He writes:

"We are, however (no getting away from it), not working for Facebook, a job that at this moment probably feels pretty good. Wall Street clearly doesn't give great value to what we do. Often our own children seem to wonder why we do it. But on the brighter side, the powers that be aren't so much taking our livelihood from us as they are giving it back. Ready or not."

I  agree with his view. Yes, the print newspaper is dying. Printed material just doesn't work today. They take too much time to print; they deliver yesterday's news, and people don't want yesterday's news when they can read today's news online. 

So at the moment, it's pretty scary for traditional print newspapers and journalists because their industry is dying. Interestingly, Wolff describes their industry as a "manufacturing industry" because newspaper companies manufacture physical products. Of course, the industry is changing. Newspapers aren't selling much of the physical product. 

While we are in the crossroads of the newspaper industry, it's important to remember that written news will never disappear. Written news is still the most efficient way to consume news because watching news through video or audio takes more time (for example, audio books take a lot longer than reading the book), and news must be condensed and simplified to be understood by a television audience. 

So journalism isn't dying, while the printed paper is. Unfortunately, no news medium has yet replaced the printed paper. We still need something, a new platform – the next iTunes for news – to come along and shake the newspaper industry. 

As we sit in limbo and the clock ticks, it's impossible not to have anxiety as a journalist. We're just waiting for this medium to strike. 

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