Friday, March 10, 2017


 Over the years THE GENERALIST has published many stories challenging the notion that everything is going on-line and that newspapers and books will disappear. An important contribution to this debate is 'Print Is Dead. Long Live Print' by Michael Rosenwald, published in the Columbia Journalism Review [Fall/Winter 2016]

Knight Ridder's Roger Fidler with his 1994 tablet (left) and
Apple's 2010 iPad (right)
It focuses on Roger Fidler, who is described as the 'forefather of digital journalism, as he conceived of a digital tablet on which you could read electronic newspapers back in the early 1980s. He now believes that this is entirely the wrong direction.

“I have come to realize that replicating print in a digital device is much more difficult than what anybody, including me, imagined,”

The story's other important source is Iris Chyi, a University of Texas associate professor and author of  Trial and Error: U.S. Newspapers’ Digital Struggles Toward Inferiority. 

Here's a snatch from “Are newspapers steak? And online is noodles?” by Steve Dempsey in The Sunday Independent (25th Oct 2015), which has the biggest newspaper circulation in Ireland. According to Chyi, newspapers are so bad at digital publishing that they should write off their forays into the internet, and focus all their energies on print.
'Chyi suggests that newspaper executives drank too much of the dotcom Kool Aid. Drunk on digital, they focused on unsustainable online growth and failed to protect their core print product. As a result, they now find themselves in a self-fulfilling vicious cycle, where they are undermining print through cutbacks and lack of investment.

Chyi also posits that publishers have failed to distinguish themselves in the digital age. News outlets worldwide have consistently produced homogenous news content, which is distributed it through a plethora of platforms - apps, websites and social media - to an audience that's already suffering from information overload.'
A more recent piece Would you believe it? Print remains a favourite with readers by veteran media correspondent Roy Greenslade [The Guardian/ 31st Jan 2017] refers to research done by Neil Thurman at City, University of London,

His study, 'Newspaper consumption in the mobile age', shows that 89% of newspaper reading is still in newsprint, with just 7% via mobile devices and 4% on PCs. Greenslade claims that is 'the first research to comprehensively account for the time spent reading newspapers via mobile devices.'
'Although online editions have doubled or tripled the number of readers that national newspapers reach, Thurman argues that this increased exposure disguises huge differences in attention paid by print and online readers.
He said: “My research shows that while print newspapers are read for an average of 40 minutes per day, online visitors to the websites and apps of those same newspapers spend an average of just 30 seconds per day."



THE END OF PAPER ? [9 Sept 2008]

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