Friday, January 23, 2009

The revolution will not be printed

Alexandra Page writes:

When I was in journalism school, we often talked about the death of newspapers and the coming reign of online journalism, but with a certain degree of irony.

Even as we struggled through mandatory courses on web content management and podcasting, we sensed that streaming video and blogs still belonged purely in the realm of entertainment and didn’t pose any real threat to the centuries-old primacy of the printed word.

Yet, thinking back, there were signs that things were changing in the industry. Two prominent daily newspapers, the Globe and Mail and the Hamilton Spectator, underwent major redesigns to adapt to the expectations of a new breed of news consumer: the Blackberry-toting, time-challenged internet generation. The new print format involved more colour photographs and shorter stories for readers accustomed to getting their news in the hyper-digested style of the web.

There were also more web tie-ins to coax reluctant readers to the publication’s website.

Still, it seemed like newspapers were merely indulging a passing fad. Deep down, the feeling was that when people wanted to curl up on the sofa on a Sunday morning or unwind in the evening by taking stock of the world, they would always reach for a newspaper first.

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