Thursday, May 14, 2009

Is that a newspaper in your pocket?

In the early to mid-1970s, Alvin Toffler's book The Third Wave predicted the coming changes in society. One thesis, if I recall correctly, was the changes will continue to occur and the rate of change will increase exponentially. At some point, he theorized, folks would give up trying to adapt to all the changes and opt out. From Ken Martin.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Perhaps it’s my age bracket (terminal), but I heartily agree.

And I’ll take a giant leap further: I think this is what will save newspapers. Not the technology fatigue so much as the fact checking.

Note: some schools are banning students from using Wikipedia because so many categories have been altered by hackers.

I think the newspaper industry shake-out may look something like this: newspapers, unfortunately will continue to die off. In a back-to-basics reality, smaller newspapers with more intense community coverage will survive along with hybrid on-line reporting and delivery systems. For a while, you’ll get everything you think you need to know in your pocket. Or ear-bud.

Gradually, it may take decade(s), the nation will realize you can’t trust what you read on-line even more than you can’t trust everything you read in the newspapers. And most people don’t have the time or curiosity to verify all this stuff.

Plus, government can run amok as long as independent newspapers are wussies. Believe me, it isn’t easy to stand in front of a speeding onslaught of professional liars. Government bears watching (see Bush-Cheney).

So gradually, a few newspaper giants will rise out of the ashes. Phoenix-like, as I am fond of saying. Maybe two or three nationwide. The people will once again sleep better.

And wrap fish better.

So long as the surviving papers are not owned by Rupert Murdoch.


Anonymous said...

Newsweek thinks newspapers are DOA and quotes investor Warren Buffett: Newspapers "have the possibility of going to unending losses. We would not buy them at any price."

Ken Martin said...

Well you may be right in your prediction about newspapers, George, but don't forget about the rise of credible online news sources such as:

Pro Publica, a nonprofit funded at $10 million a year to produce investigative reporting and is doing a terrific job.

Talking Points Memo, a premiere for-profit political site that's also doing a fantastic job of hard-edge reporting.

Voice of San Diego, a nonprofit that's doing excellent reporting.

And dozens of other online sites, mostly nonprofits, that are stepping into the news void to serve their communities, including the Center for Independent Media, which has sites operating in six states; the New Haven Independent; and many, many more. By mid-summer I'll be joining the fun by launching The Austin Bulldog for local nonprofit reporting in the public interest.

Anonymous said...

I sincerely believe everything you say...I worry, though, that this
generation from 28-45, is too lazy to read anything, and too careless
to realize what is and what isnt in this republic. No watchdogs...the
political rats run rampant...Hope your prediction is true. Mike

Anonymous said...

You have confirmed my suspicions!!
You are a liberal ---Goose

Anonymous said...

Liberals read newspapers. Go figure. --Ira

The South Plainsman said...

See, George, you want the newspapers to print your version of the Truth, whether it is right or wrong.

They will arise out of the ashes when they print the whole truth, and not just one side's version thereof.

We are not getting from our papers what they need to give us, without regard to who owns them.

Could write a book on this, but can't afford it from the ship.

Blog of Ages said...

SP: That is pure conservative projection (and other colorful expressions).

I want newspapers to get back to basics: covering city hall, school board meetings, Little League, etc. Let national papers cover national stuff. I want to know how my neighbors are doing. Where to get flu shots.

You're just pissed because the newspapers told the truth about the dumb-assed, gun-toting tea parties.

Conservatives. God help us.


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