March 11, 2009

The Future of Newspapers

Posted in Media at 8:50 am by SD

I’m an avid newspaper reader. Sitting down with a cup of coffee and the newspaper is one of my favorite times of the day, but I think I am one of the last of a dying breed of print newspaper readers. More  and more people are turning to the Internet for information rather then their daily newspaper.

A Pew Research study found that 40 percent of Americans get most of their national and international news from the Internet, up from just 24 percent in 2007.

The days where the newspaper was the primary source of news for people has passed.

Not only are people getting their information in new ways but the demise of the newspaper industry continues. Denver recently became a one newspaper town when the Rocky Mountain News ceased circulation on February 27. Newspapers in Tuscon and Seattle are up for sale and the San Francico Chronicle may be headed this direction as well. As traditional newspapers continue to struggle to stay relevant, will they be successful? In 10 years, will we be reading a digital version of the newspaper rather than a print version?

Media NewsGroup seems to think that a digital newspaper may be the answer to the newspaper industry’s challenges. They are currently working to develop an “individuated newspaper” or “I-news” with customized content. Readers select the info they want to read about (e.g. fashion, Denver Broncos or technology) and each day they receive a digital newspaper in their inbox containing only the content they want. Even the ads would be customized to your preference. You can then read it on your computer or cellphone or print it off on your home printer. The concept will be tested this summer and depending on its success, full roll out in certain markets could occur within a year.

While only time will tell if this concept resonates with readers, I can tell you one thing: I may be the last of a dying breed but I’m not ready to give up my morning coffee and print newspaper (newsprint fingers and all). So I hope the newspaper industry finds a way to stay relevant (and in print form) in a digital world. And, I don’t think “I-News” is the answer.

~S

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