The fast disappearing world of the ‘paper’

Jeff Jarvis has been briefing the Guardian (though I can’t believe he didn’t charge an honorarium). If you’re in the business, or are charged with thinking about where all this Internet stuff is going, you should read this tightly packed and referenced screed on how journalism will shift from publishers to builders of relationships.

  • Shore Road Resident

    I’ve got to say that all this blog-bigging up here at Slugger has gone way beyond informed speculation and headed right up its own colon.

    All anyone ever does on this or any other similar blog is post and discuss stories and commentary from newspapers.

    If I was a media mogul I’d respond to this fleeting cultural irritation by taking my titles off line and leaving the bloggers with eff-all to say. As it is I give blogs a similar shelf-life to chat rooms, or noticeboards, or usenet groups or any other net phenomenon that’s promised to change the world and kill the mainstream media, then vanished after 2-5 years due to the very thing that makes it work i.e. openness to anyone, inevitably leading to domination by a handful of tedious obsessives.

    I’ll get my coat.

  • Mick Fealty

    You should follow some of the links SRR, it’s fun.

    Blogging’s just a technology. Cheap, and easy to run. Only one of a number of the latest generation of read/write technologies, in line with the older platforms you’ve mentioned. And it will probably have disappeared or subsumed into the general modus operandii of the net in 2-5 years.

    Don’t hung up on the platform, it’s the story underneath that’s the thing. Besides, I’ve been a bit distracted today, trying to make a modicum of cash by means other than blogging.

  • Shore Road Resident

    Well yes, there’s your real problem.
    Blogging either makes money or dies – and the only way it ever makes money for anyone is when they get work on… a newspaper.

    Until somebody invents a wireless display technology that is portable, foldable, indestructable and cheap enough to leave lying around coffee shops when you’re done with it then trust me, the Guardian has not bought its last press.

  • Mick Fealty

    I could not agree more. No money, and you’ll only get bitty journalism. That’s a problem, but only for now. However, none of this is about current conditions so much as preparing for a dynamic future.

    Broadband role out will probably accelerate the sheer numbers of people who get their news and information on line.

    The experience of how blogging has grown is simply showing up how the relationship the changing relationship between the reader and the publishing organ.

  • Mick Fealty

    It’s not just to do with journalism. This looks like an interesting on business and the net.

  • re: ‘Until somebody invents a wireless display technology that is portable, foldable, indestructable and cheap enough to leave lying around coffee shops when you’re done with it then trust me, the Guardian has not bought its last press.’

    that day is coming sooner than you think –

    re: ‘Broadband role out will probably accelerate the sheer numbers of people who get their news and information on line.

    The experience of how blogging has grown is simply showing up how the relationship the changing relationship between the reader and the publishing organ.’

    everyone i know is consuming far less ‘mainstream media’ and spending their ‘media time’ on ‘home-grown’ stuff like podcasts/vidcasts which they often if not take a part in are least involved with at some level – they might have the tv on in the background but they’re interacting with others using facebook/myspace etc. or making their own stuff…things really are changing…(gee you’d never know i was from california would ya? 😉

  • interesting article on the decline of newspapers caused by online service ‘Craigs List’

    http://www.sfweekly.com/Issues/2005-11-30/news/feature_print.html

    excerpt:

    If Newmark, or one of the projects he’s working with, jumps through all the technical hoops, contributors will only be able to take things so far. The shortcomings of the mainstream media that Newmark gripes about — not investigating weapons of mass destruction claims or malfeasance by Halliburton — aren’t likely to be fixed by citizen reporters. “When you get into investigative journalism, you very quickly outstrip the ability of citizen journalists to gain access, maintain focus, and invest in a story,” says Cauthorn, whose nascent company aims to enable a hybrid between citizen reporters and professional news outlets. The “social need for investigative journalists” is one of Newmark’s main concerns, and he’s considering making grants to the Center for Investigative Reporting. However, writing critically about powerful figures requires institutional backing, not just time and money.

    Citizen journalism may become a helpful supplement to mainstream reporting, especially in smaller towns, just as bloggers help elucidate news on specific topics for millions of readers. But the more important (and more challenging) the stories are, the more likely it is that citizen journalists won’t have the wherewithal to complete them. “Citizen journalism will not be the Fourth Estate,” Cauthorn says. “It’s not going to sit down and stare across the room at an army of lawyers for some government official who’s outraged that you’ve written about his misdeeds.”

  • Shore Road Resident

    With respect, no they aren’t.
    You and your mates are sadly atypical.
    Everyone else reads the Daily Mirror at break time in work then goes home and spends all evening watching TV. As it always was, is, and ever shall be. Amen.

  • re: As it always was, is, and ever shall be. Amen.

    have to disagree – TV was a transient technology – what did people do before it and Radio? They entertained themselves – sure people will always want to ‘veg out’ but the day of TV being the dominant media form in the home are waning (after all – with Freeview/Sky/Cable the TV is really a Computer hooked up to a crappy display…)
    younger generations are watching less TV, spending more time on interactive media – and let’s not forget that the amount of money kids spend on sweets is down – cause after all they need that cash for their mobile phones…

  • Crataegus

    On a Sunday morning ever tried lying in bed with your monitor and keyboard? It is dammed uncomfortable. Newspapers will be around for a while yet, though internet use is bound to increase but I think mainly for reference. Surfing is a often simply a necessary nuisance and blogging a marginal interest.

  • Mick Fealty

    I buy newspapers faster than I can recycle them. I’d guess most bloggers do. And I love good journalism. I’ve even turned in an odd half decent piece myself.

    If you read the Murdoch quotation in Jarvis’s blog, he also says that papers will be around for decades.

    That’s not the point. The point is that the market is changing. Any newspaper mogul who doesn’t think about how to engage an online audience now, runs the risk of getting left .

    Taking yourself off line to spite uppity bloggers, well I don’t see the sense when the bloggers concerned can multiply your online audience.

  • Zorro

    The poor standard of journalism in this particular part of the world will hopefully accelerate greater use of blogging forums. Further developments in bluetooth and broadband technologies can only speed this process up.

  • Nestor Makhno

    The fact that you can take your notebook into bed with you in the morning (however, weird that might be!) is a hell of an advance. My 12″ ibook has the computing power of a 1970s mainframe that would have taken up several hundred square feet of air-conditioned office space.

    Ok, so you won’t sit with a notebook? So how about an electronic foldable paper that dowloads stories wirelessly throughout the day? It’s not too far off

  • Scotsman

    I’m sure blogging has its place, but newspapers’ problems seem to me to have a number of causes, including:

    1- Loss of circulation, thanks to Metro freesheets devaluing the product, 24 hour TV news, free web access to BBC etc and just more choice of activities (including bad ones like driving to work)
    2- Loss of ad revenue to various websites- even EBay for classifieds, for example

    3. Cost-cutting leading to most papers being little more than a collection of PA copy, a few columnists and various topical puffs on Hollywood films etc. This leads to a feeling that its harder to distinguish between papers, and that they don’t offer enough value on top of the standard stuff that’s freely available.

    This is increasingly problematic for local papers, who fill their pages with cheap stuff to cut costs, but thus lose their raison d’etre of serving the local community. Clearly this can have political ramifications.

    Journalists are doubtless grateful to have enthusiasts out there blogging on politics or football and they can pass those rumours on to the public at large or even follow them up first if they have time between re-writing press releases.

    But the best bloggers will doubtless be snapped up to work as journalists- or already do.

    Having The Guardian on foldable e-paper is fine, but it doesn’t get away from the fact that Metro is free, the BBC is free and that if The Guardian website started charging it would lose 90% of its traffic overnight.

    There will always be a nimble blogger or two out there in the role of freelance journalists, but I don’t see a general increase in investment in journalism- just cost-cutting thanks to falling ad revenues.