Physical newspapers aren’t dying off – they’re evolving
Column: I may not subscribe for home delivery, but I read the news more than ever.
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Leave it to Robert Scoble of FastCompany.tv to provide an example that goes to the heart of the matter. During his keynote address at the conference, Mr. Scoble was also broadcasting it via his cellphone to his Internet followers. Later, he took questions from them and the audience at the same time.Skip to next paragraph
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Scoble argued that all this connectivity changes journalism by opening it up. If a reporter conducts an interview with a newsmaker during a live broadcast, “people can send questions as the interview takes place.”
This takes advantage of members of the audience that have a deeper understanding of certain issues. (You might call it “open source journalism.”) So a journalist can use these new platforms to use “the crowd smarts” to ask more pointed questions.
News, in 140 characters or less
Scoble also talked about using the microblogging service Twitter as a way to report the news. He discussed his own involvement as one of the first people to report on the recent devastating earthquake in China – even though he was in the US at the time.
He found out about the news by checking the minute-by-minute Twitter updates from people in that region. Scoble blogged about his observation and wound up scooping many major media outlets.
By the way, if you think Twitter is just an annoying fad, you’re wrong.
As consultant Amy Webb pointed out during her seminar on new tech trends, its use has increased by 485 percent over the past seven months.
News is also going more mobile. E-mail versions of news websites have been available for several years, but now more and more of these sites are also offering video for mobile devices. (The introduction of some major new smartphones, such as the iPhone, has spurred growth in this area.)
Does all this technology mean newspapers are finished? No.
We’ve been hearing that for a while, but it seems investment banks are disappearing faster these days than newspapers. They are, however, in trouble and no doubt will change their modus operandi. One more popular scenario discussed at the conference is that papers will become the complement to websites, rather than the other way around.
Then again, I’m probably going to cancel my recent paper subscription.
No one seems to read it much, I’m afraid. Editions pile up in the corner until, once a week, I taking them to the neighborhood recycling center. And as I’m walking over there, I’m frequently checking the news on my cellphone for stories that I can recommend to my son.