podcast #8: the end? of print, part 1

Matt and I talk about the end (question mark) of print in this episode of “… and scene”. We had a lot to say about the topic, so this podcast comes in two installments. The first is about the fate of the newspaper. Tune in next week for the second!

2 thoughts on “podcast #8: the end? of print, part 1

  1. Wow, one of my very favorite topics (and is that an inadvertent Godspeed You! Black Emperor reference in the title?). I guess I’m interested as a librarian, although I suspect my interest in things like this is what pushed me into librarianship.

    I think ‘the end of newspapers’ is very different to ‘the end of print’ (are you going to look at books in part 2, maybe?). Probably it is the end for crappier newspapers, but that’s what happens when you throw huge (technological) change at a staid industry, right? Like Matt says, some newspapers are just bad.

    As you say, huge technological change also affects some people disproportionately, like your library regulars. Where possible we need to get internet to people who don’t have it at home yet, help them with Ubuntu, whatever… but public libraries also have a duty, I think, to subscribe to print where available, and perhaps innovative things too. (Example: ‘my paper‘ auto-generates short PDFs of its output, updated hourly, which I’d print out occasionally at the library when all our copies of that day’s paper were already in use.)

    Definitely the advertising revenue problem it’s what’s driving change in the newspaper industry. AdSense (et al.) is still somewhat immature; your point about print ads being more ‘aligned’ to their market is fair, but isn’t this just very lazy targeting of ads? AdSense is far more ambitious at targeting (and still gets it wrong, badly, often), but isn’t it the same basic principle at work?

    The authority problem, too, affects both print and digital. Yes, there’s a lot of dross online, but I’m convinced copyediting has got worse in print simultaneously. (I can’t recall picking up a book published last year that didn’t have at least one typo. Admittedly that’s a high standard to hit!) And venerable, trustworthy newspapers use that status to get away with lower standards. Did Jayson Blair cause a scandal because he was the one bad apple, or because he was the one bad apple to get caught? Everyone knows Fox News is right-wing and makes assumptions about their editorial stance accordingly, but the TImes of London is owned by the same guy with the same opinions, and gets to play the ‘impartial newspaper of record’ card, just because it’s the Times.

    Who writes the news? The wires have a big part to play now, and on that topic, perhaps someone should keep an eye on the Associated Press?

    I shall shut up now! 🙂 Except to note that Jeff Jarvis is often good on this topic, particularly when writing for the Guardian, whose media coverage is often excellent.

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