Jeremiah's post pointed me to this post by Tris Hussey at Podtech discussing a recent WSJ article.(BTW: maybe because i have been in the content display business for years, but it made me crazy that there was no attributed author on the link he posted which is the full post view and i had to dig for Tris's author attribution)
It wasn't the comments on the WSJ article that interested me but some of the points that Tris made about main stream print media and the shift in coverage of news as their print, then online presence expanded in order to meet the needs and consumption choices of their audiences. I agree and continue to see their online presence changing in order to retain and grow readership- many mainstream media online sites now embed video, blog content, slide shows and audio.
Tish also states that he reads the newspaper for the "here is what we think it means type of stuff" that is part of the editorial aspect of journalism and he makes a good point on how magazines like Time- were at one point vehicles of 'current' news and then turned more to analysis because a weekly magazine could no longer cut being a news only distribution channel.
I agree with Tish's point and believe that when we go to the newsstand (virtual or physical) we select the papers that we feel reflect our own beliefs (although i work for Dow Jones of Wall Street Journal fame and get a free copy at work which i read, i by habit read the New York Times first to see what is happening in the world). The same choices affect which television news casts we tune into or radio stations we listen- so of course it is no different with the blogs we choose to read. (and by the way i am not talking about news junkies but the regular news consumer). I however do not think that we are ready for print newspapers to only provide analysis.
If you have been reading my blog you know i have worked for Factiva (now fully a Dow Jones company) for the last 8 yrs. Our part of the business is content aggregation and distribution and i am part of the consulting services group that works with companies to integrate content (ours, other 3rd party or internal) into enterprise work flows. Aside from the technical implementation, i spend a lot of time on the user requirements from filtered topics to content source selections, to point of delivery and post 'processing' requirements.
If we are talking about news consumption from a personal perspective ( e.g. i want to personally know what is happening in politics, in global issues, with health and climate issues etc.) i think our consumption habits are a bit different then when we consume news on behalf of the work we do for our employers and clients and therefore the tools we need to consume that content is going to be different. They are not exclusive of each other but different. When information workers consume content as part of their work flow they need validated content from trusted sources on demand (and i do not exclude web content in the trusted sources category but that is an entirely different post). I have seen enterprises slash their print budget by millions over the years as they move to electronic versions while applying those savings to distribution models that ensure that the right information is delivered to the right person at the right time.
i still like the idea of a print version being the record of news- i might be a bit old fashion but i know if i want to find a 'newsworthy' story from the early 1900's to present time i can go to an online full text database or to my local library to find it.
i am sitting in my grandparents living room in Portugal and my grandmother just sat down next to me and asked what i was doing, i had this post as a saved draft and was on the New York Times website, i told her 'i am reading the newspaper' she looked at the screen and said "oh yeah- how cute, remember when you used to make us go downtown to buy the American newspaper at that one newsstand that had American papers? guess you don't have to do that anymore'....exactly