not what-if, but when?

I often look back on my academic career, as a student, and examine the things I wish had gone differently. One of the largest regrets is not having Vincent Maher as a lecturer. In a post today, he has detailed what he sees as the problems suffered by both print and online journalism.

One of Maher’s arguments surrounds the number of full-time, professional, journalists working solely for online content – there is simply not that many. Many of the articles available online are reproductions, or summaries, of what is printed or broadcast elsewhere. Although most media companies now have a dedicated staff to update the respective website, the amount of money spent on new content exclusive to the web is minimal.

The guardian unlimited site is one of the most progressive websites, and even there the vast majority of content comes from the print edition – how much of the online user/staff generated content is moved towards the traditional copy? Using The Guardian, as an example however is unfair – the company is certainly considered one of the more progressive parties from the traditional media. (They have Jeff Jarvis on their side, who could ask for more? Jarvis has become the unofficial ‘shop steward’ for bloggers within the media)

Over-saturation in the current online news market is another factor – too much emphasis on fast updates rather than quality and accuracy of the bulletin. There is so much competition to be the first to break the story that the writing of each story suffers. Maher points to the number of news sites that regurgitate the same copy while trying to do so faster than the competition.

The future of journalism is digital. There is no way of stopping the transition, but the traditional media has the opportunity to use everything it has learned during its existence to avoid repeating some of the pitfalls from the past. Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian, announced a little while ago that the new presses the paper had purchased would be the last printing machines that the organisation would probably ever purchase. This says a lot of where he sees the market moving to – and has invested much of his time to future developments.

It is not a question of whether or not the online and digital media will surpass other media outlets in numbers; more simply it is when will it happen? The future in Electronic Page Display, EPD, might be the preferred transition method for the print media, but now is the time to begin investing in online content and product development. Papers and companies that develop strong online readerships now will only benefit from having such a position over their competitors joining the market later.

technological heaven: Origami Devices


2 Responses to “not what-if, but when?”

  1. 1 Alveredus Trackback on October 30, 2006 at 5:26 pm

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