Newspapers in 2020
On his blog BuzzMachine, Jeff Jarvis posts an essay he wrote for the World Association of Newspapers:
So let's get ahead of the curve for once. Let's kill the newspaper ourselves. Pick a date in the less-distant-than-you-think future and unplug the press. And then ask: What's a newspaper? What's its real value? And how does that value live on and grow past paper?
Oh, printed products may well continue and in some countries still grow. But I wouldn't mourn their death so long as we find ways for their journalism to live on and prosper. For a newspaper mustn't define itself by its medium. It isn't just paper. Its strength and value do not come from controlling content or distribution. And protecting those dwindling advantages is not a viable strategy for growth -- or survival.
I'll argue that a newspaper isn't even a product. Journalism is a service, a process, an organizing principle. And thanks to the technology that some think is a threat to newspapers -- namely, the internet -- that service can now expand in so many ways, turning a newspaper into something new and something more -- at a lower cost. So rather than asking what a newspaper will be, I think we should ask what a news organization's relationship with its community can be.