I’m a print journalist by training even though I have now expanded into the digital realm. It pains me to see so many newspapers cut back production or fold. Nevertheless, I do not believe that the newspaper business will end completely, though it will certainly change.
There is no way that the print business can compete on the timeliness of web and broadcast media. However, that is not the only purpose of a print newspaper. People turn to newspapers for something they could sit down and read away from their computer or TV. We want to read analysis, in-depth reporting, commentary, comics and to get our regular dose of coupons, information on the latest sales and the goings-on around our community and on our TV. The newspaper can still provide that.
What the new newspaper will look like is a weekly print piece connected to a local online hub. The Ann Arbor News, a paper I used to read, has made this change on its own accord. It decided not to wait until it was going broke. Advance Publications, the owner of the News, saw that the income was already dropping precipitously. As reported in Time, Ann Arbor is a perfect town to make this change. The highly educated audience is very likely to accept an online publication, and the number of non-daily print pieces has already been on the increase.
I’ll still love print, but I get most of my news through broadcast and web sources. I don’t have time for a daily paper. Even so, I’ll occasionally pick up a weekly or a Sunday edition. Those have the main items I look for in print. Now the only question is, what happens to book publishing?