Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Newspapers in Trouble?

TCS Daily - Newspapers in Trouble?: "Paper is just an increasingly obsolete delivery platform. It's expensive, and on the way out. Get rid of it, or start a new 'paper' without it. " So says Glenn Reynolds. He's probably right: publishers of newspapers, magazines and journals will probably increasingly move away from paper products. Mr Reynolds hopes, optimistically, that publishers will invest more in journalists, and in more flexibility -- getting said journalists to photograph, use video clips, etc. (I suspect the publishers will be more interested in profit margins, as has been demonstrated to date, but I'm a bit of a cynic.) With e-book functionality still not at breaktrhough yet -- Sony's product came in for some stick recently--- I guess those of us who like to read their newspapers (accent on the "paper") on the way to work in the morning are saved for a few years yet. But it is sad. I read a lot online and work all day online in some form or other. I love the Internet, the Web and email (well, email is a curse as well as a blessing, to be honest). I am by no means a luddite, but "I love paper" --- there, I've written it. I hate the thought of having to read everything in e-form, and I don't believe all the many people who say soon(ish) I won't be able to tell the difference between an e-reader and paper. I think e-reading will require a compromise on the part of the (human) reader, not to mention demanding yet further adaptation of the visual system beyond that which it was designed for. I will miss that particular type of browsing that is possible when reading a paper product, which is rather different from online browsing (or e-browsing as I suppose I should call it). Economics will out, eventually, and newspapers will die, I suppose, as everyone says they will. I for one will be very sad when that day happens.