We do want newspapers

I’ve been asking people why they like their newspaper:

  • I know the journalists – I follow their arguments.  I know their bias.
  • I can identify with the views offered
  • I like the weekend section – I read over the following week
  • I like the feel of the newspaper
  • I get a local perspective on international affairs
  • They call it as they see it

Lots of good reasons.

But the pressure continues for the industry.  I have commented previously on the impact of the web on newspapers – that they are too slow to be ‘news’.   However I would say, as a regular user of public transport, the smart phone/ blackberry/ ipod – have also hit them hard.  There was a time you wanted a paper hopping on a bus or tram.  Now you have full radio availability from your mobile phone.

Interesting piece by Howard Kurtz in today’s Washington Post. He references his frustration that the newspapers may have missed the boat, missed the opportunity to use the web intelligently to improve their offering, rather than kill it.

But going forward – what about the F generation (ie the facebook generation).  Will they ever look to newspapers the way we (the baby boomers) have seen them – informing us, setting much of the agenda, source of entertainment?  I don’t think so.

Will the missing advertising revenues ever return?  Many of the newspapers have reengineering their processes, have removed lots of costs, have invested significantly in their web presence, have used the web to assist in producing their papers.

Tend to agree with Mr Kurtz.  There is no one model.  There will be opportunities – because of the reasons people like newspapers.  But organisations will need to be nimble, flexible and continue to evolve their models.  as I have said before quality journalism must have a future – society needs it.  But how it will be organisaed and how people will profit from it…to be worked out.