Aol, wait no, TechCrunch posted this article about the death of print media as a result of the Internet. All pretty standard stuff, they were actually rebutting an Editor at The Guardian who was claiming that maybe the Internet is not killing print. I won’t lie to you dear readers I only got about half way through the article before I decided I had heard this all before and skipped to the last two paragraphs.
Pretty standard stuff.
What struck me though, or at least what popped into my head, was the idea that perhaps it really isn’t the Internet that is killing newspapers. I mean it – what about the Internet is killing print specifically?
The Price? Pricing surely plays a part in the death of print and the Internet being free certainly doesn’t help, but TV is everywhere and more or less free (in that we would pay for it anyways, and you can get it for free with an antenna) and there are plenty of news stations. TV hasn’t killed newspapers, there are (were really) plenty of people who paid for Cable and for newspaper subscriptions (often more than one newspaper).
Timelines and Relevance
I think what is really killing newspapers is the paper medium itself. Not many would argue that a blog is more reliable than The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal but that newspaper that gets delivered to my doorstep is far less timely and relevant than most any major blog. Those newspaper stories were written over 6 hours ago, and given the speed at which the Internet carries news, that news in the newspaper is irrelevant by the time the ink dried on the page.
So no I don’t think it is the Internet per say that killed newspapers, rather the fact that Newspapers become outdated material far too fast for people with Internet access to glean any sense of value out of. I would argue that people would be happy to pay for a breaking news service that was accurate up to the second before they would be willing to find out what happened yesterday.
The Internet isn’t killing newspapers what is killing newspapers is that people are demanding instant up-to-the-second news updates. That in large part is due to how the Internet has reshaped and continues to shape our culture, but it is most certainly not solely the Internet’s fault, it’s really our own hunger for more timely news, that is what is at fault.