by Scott Rinning
Print media is having a tough time at the moment, circulation is dropping year on year, and scandals, like the one that drove News of the World into an early grave, certainly aren’t helping an industry teetering on the edge. People have be portending the death of the printed newspaper and professional journalism pretty much since the birth of the internet – a proclamation that has been trumpeted for a myriad of other creative industries too, like music, film and photography, you name it, the internet is killing it.
But I’m sitting in a room right now full of people reading, watching and listening to journalistic output, professional and amateur, when I’m at home or in my local coffee shop I see much the same thing. People are not losing interest in the news, far from it, people’s appetite for it only seems to be growing. We are just consuming our news in new ways.
Personally, I still buy a real newspaper – as well as scouring the net for news – mainly because the editor lays the stories out in such a way that along with the content, the printed paper communicates the importance of stories – big page area important story – and their relevance to each other; something that online news sources haven’t quite sorted out in my opinion.
The Guardian has been tackling the challenges and opportunities of the internet quite successfully for a while now. They had the guardian online back in 1997 and have about 50 million users. Now they are readying themselves to launch the Ipad version of their newspaper and by the looks of it, it seems to address some of the problems I have with online content vs print. Check out their promo video below.
Fundamentally, please don’t think I have some kind of nostalgic love of printed material – I think newspapers are a huge waste of trees, even if I do enjoy reading them. When the technology is good enough, I’ll happily swap. When it comes to those newspaper journalists that say it will be a sad day when the last paper comes off the printing press, I say to them, it will only be a sad day if they haven’t figured out a way to continue publishing on an innovative user friendly digital platform.
Personally, I love the Guardian and I’m very excited to see if the new Ipad version will finally mean I can stop emptying my recycling bin quite so often.
Do you think tablets have the potential to replace the printed newspaper or will the newspaper boy have a job for a little while longer?