The future of print media

Ireporter.jpgn the past three years, the conversation about the death of newspapers has only gotten louder.

Recently, though, a few voices have caught my ear.

In a long and at times dense piece in the New Yorker called “Out of Print,” Eric Alterman made the latest attempt at chronicling the rise, the fall and the future of newspapers.

The article spends a lengthy portion on how the Huffington Post, considered a liberal, Drudge Report alternative, is pioneering what may be the future for newspapers as we know them.

Arthur Miller once described a good newspaper as “a nation talking to itself.” If only in this respect, the Huffington Post is a great newspaper. It is not unusual for a short blog post to inspire a thousand posts from readers—posts that go off in their own directions and lead to arguments and conversations unrelated to the topic that inspired them. Occasionally, these comments present original perspectives and arguments, but many resemble the graffiti on a bathroom wall.”

It is that democracy that is being injected into media, user-generated reporting and the like, that most scares critics. As the example of a Huffington report incorrectly suggesting those displaced by Hurricane Katrina had taken to eating corpses.

The article’s strongest point is that newspapers and blogs and other forms of new media are converging. Huffington Post is adding traditional elements – like hiring Thomas Edsall, a forty-year veteran of the Washington Post and other papers, as its political editor – and newspapers are accepting the digital age, slowly – with podcasts, online updating and more.

PBS’s Frontline had a four hour special investigating the challenges facing media today. Former Los Angeles Editor Dean Baquet makes some keen insight and gets respect in the industry for it.

(Hat tip to the very popular journalism blog by Howard Owens, where I picked up very nearly all of these sources).

3 thoughts on “The future of print media”

  1. Chris
    Nice blog. Even in Peabody, I knew you were a special kid Keep up the great work.
    PS- McCain?????? You can’t be serious.

  2. Seth:
    Thanks for the kind words. Ah, the young often ridicule my McCain support! He the most deserving, earnest presidential candidate in a generation or two. Hillary is an awfully smart lady, and Barack is enthusiasm personified, but, I assure you, John McCain, somewhere beneath his snarling and his attempts to satisfy a conservative base, is all that is good about conservatism. He is a conservative that the young and optimistic can support. That said, one thing I hate most is partisan bickering and slander. I should think I would give my support to whomever wins the presidency. Best, I’ll be reading your work, as I hope you will mine. Our paths will cross, to be sure.

  3. This is a really interesting subject to me. I don’t think that print media’s problems stem from their inability to create new revenue streams. Now they are in a position where they have to play “catch-up” the same way Hollywood did when everyone was downloading their content for free. There is no doubt that real journalism is king in the world of communications. Everyone depends on their ability to find the truth by using a verifiable process of fact gathering and reporting. I hope that these major companies can figure out a way to make money though. I might just throw out a few ideas for them on

    Anyways, love the site Chris. I can honestly say that I’ve been a fan of yours for a number of years now.

    -Raysean Hogan

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