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Sunday, February 1, 2009

On Print Media

The New York Times ran an obviously self-referential op-ed Wednesday on the demise of newspapers from a steadily increasing Web readership. I read the NYT and the Wall Street Journal newspapers, and the thought of a world absent physical newspapers borders on fear. A world without newspapers?

It's understandable that news consumers have turned to digital content; it's mostly freely available, easy to access, and ubiquitous now that broadband is a commonplace in American homes and offices. I don't blame the new generation for turning to the Web for their news fix these days. It makes sense. And newspapers, like so many other products pulled from the shelves of consumer markets, are perhaps just the latest victims in the ongoing history of failed business models. Their readers are the hapless dinosaurs watching the darkening sky, faintly aware that it signals an end and some new beginning.

If the newspapers fail -- and many of them are suffering and on the verge -- we'll have lost something that can't be replaced by so many Web pages. For those who know the joy of fetching the morning newspaper, holding in hand the new day, thumbing through the world of events and information and commentary, look up. See the sky darkening as unsustainable business models die their slow but ineluctable deaths. And know also that the paper you hold retains a value that changing consumer markets does not explain, or describe.


mijopo said...

Thanks for the link, I wrote about this in my regular blog.

eneve said...

You said,

"I read the NYT and the Wall Street Journal newspapers, and the thought of a world absent physical newspapers borders on fear."

I believe there is a typo here, but I don't understand what your point is. That a world absent of physical newpapers is a more fearful world. That having no physical newpapers is fear itself? That people are afriad of losing physical newpapers, and what that means for the news industry as a whole?

I personally would be more fearful of the pharmaceutical industry than the news industry. =) Pfizer did just merge again. I'm pretty sure that they are larger and more powerful than most governments in the world now.

Remember their motto "If you don't think something is wrong with you, then something IS wrong with you".

If half of the commercials on television can't convince you that something is wrong with you then I'm not sure what else they can do.

Now hurry up and think that you are depressed or something so that you can buy our drugs!

Sorry for the tangent.

Erik said...

It's quite alright, eneve. I've long subscribed to the view that 100 years of psychiatrists prescribing all manner of drugs have made us less happy. In particular the "dummy drugs" that affect seratonin (with warnings that a particular seratonin uptake inhibiter may in fact cause intense suicidal thoughts... "yes doc, but other than that...").

And -- sorry but I'll be a little flippant here -- what's up with the "male enhancement" drugs poring out of the pharmacies these days (e.g., Viagra)? ... lasting more than four hours... like that's natural...

But on the subject of news, I don't much like the thought of a world where one can't wake up and grab the morning newspaper. I like to hold it, to work through it, to feel it. Of course I do realize that the Web is the next great thing...

Erik said...

And your "regular blog" is? And if you mind my asking, what is the purpose of your "non-regular" blog? Is it blogspot's draconian deal where only other blogspot blogs can be followed? I've seen this myself. If another reason for the two blogs, please explain... I'm trying to trouble shoot these kinds of issues myself...

mijopo said...


(I x-posted from my LJ0