Newspapers going the way of the auto industry - succombing to the digital age?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009 12:27
Posted in category Featured, Tech Politics

When you hear the words “auto industry” in this day and age, it is hard to think of a properous and youthful market.  One that is expanding and on the leading edge of automotive technology.  However, we all know that the U.S. auto industry is anything but “leading edge” or prosperous.  Unfortunately, they aren’t the only market to start feeling the pinch of not only economic times, but also the technological times as technology and digitized goods become more and more a part of our daily lives.  So what area of the market has been thrust into the spotlight claiming to be in the most dire need of help and a solution?  The newspaper industry.

For our more mature readers, think back to when you were younger, much younger, and visualize your dad, grandpa, or whoever you want sitting down and pulling whipping out the paper.  For hours everyday they wouldn’t move from their place on their kitchen chair, porch step, etc.  The newspaper was a way of life, a way of information exchange that had stood the test of time and proved reliable albeit slightly delayed.  Just as the auto industry was once seen as “too big to fail”, the newspaper industry is one that has always been considered an industry that would always be there, growing old with us just as our favorite Chevy from years past.  Unfortunately, due to poor management decisions over the years, the economic 180 that has practically decimated every area of the market, as well as the more digitized society we live in today, the newspaper industry is dying.  Dying a death that signals a radical change in our society.

Of course, if your entire life’s foundation and your only way of living were shrinking daily with no end in sight, I’m sure you would be a little frustrated, sad, lost, and wanting to single someone or something out as the cause.  The newspaper industry is more or less calling the web the source of their problems sighting rampent content and “idea” theft.  There is some truth to that as there are blogs, many of them who will simply copy and paste without citing and without giving input of their own and adding to the material in order to make the article more personal as well as “their own”.  As Tech Crunch points out, the newspaper industry is much like the auto industry and music industry.  Each respective industry has corporations so deeply tied in “old ways” that either their denial or blatant refusal to accept the change that is happening is going to kill their businesses.  They will die off and be replaced by better coporations and businesses (if the Gov’t can leave the free market alone) and will eventually right the sinking ship that we have been experiencing financially and economically the last couple of years.

Of course, the newspaper industry isn’t exactly practicing what they preach.  While they continue to point fingers and decry the internet as a new satan and the death of the industry, they have their own staff who are trying to get a successful startup of that particular print industry online.  If they hate it so much then why would they try to embrace it as a “new friend”?  It is hypocrisy at its finest I suppose.  Where does Google fit into all of this high school drama?  Well, naturally if you a dying industry and desperately looking for cash as well as an outside source to point your companies dying fingers at, you generally choose one of the healthiest and wealthiest companies you can find - in this case Google.  They are a monsterous company with equally monsterous pockets that if somehow fined for any part of the print media’s collapse, would guarantee  a nice sum of money for those respective print media companies.  Just maybe they can pocket some money as well as slow the progression towards online news.

The chart (visible at Tech Crunch) shows a grim future for not only newspapers as it can be related to other print media.  If they don’t find new ways to truly embrace technology and the whole digital movement that news and media are moving, many big names that have been around for decades will cease to exist.  They will become a victim of the hardships and poor choices of our time.

Besides the blatant and obvious issue of money and copywrite issues, another hurdle the big newspaper companies are having a hard time with is this generations “gotta have it now” go go go mentality.  They want breaking news as it happens down to the second.  Not a newspaper at which the time you read it is already half a day old or more making it obsolete and always stuck in the past.  Couple with the delay from print to reading, people don’t want to spend half an hour or more reading stories or even just fishing through a newspaper trying to find articles hidden within.  Instead of taking 30-45 minutes to really read most of a newspaper thouroughly, they are spending 30-45 seconds browsing through multiple RSS feeds picking and choosing the content to read further either now or at a later time.  RSS feeds and their method of news exchange cannot be replicated by a physical print means.  People can’t pick newspaper articles from different sources and group them or save them for later practically, efficiently, or anywhere close to as quickly as a basic RSS reader can do.  One could deduce from these circumstances that the internet did in fact kill the newspaper.  However, it isn’t as if news or the media are dead - far from it.  As more and more newspapers and media outlets move online you will see better content as the truly amazing writers who are sticklers for their ‘ol pencil and eraser finally join the online movement.

I’m curious, are you an RSS/feed reader?  Or are you a physical/newspaper reader?  Is your life generally characterized by the “go go go” rush of everyday life, or are  you a more methodical and slower traveler through the conquest we call life?  Share you habits with us.

Source: Tech Crunch, The Australian News, WebTV Wire *pic*

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