Newspapers and the Web

Reading Real Time News on iPad. Unread Newspap...
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There has been a lot of noise on the future of newspapers. Whether the web will make the paper redundant? How the newspapers are fighting back to stay in contention?

Let us take a step back and see what are the reasons why we need a newspaper? Various reasons abound why one used to look forward to the newspaper every morning. To read:

  • News – Politics, Business, Sports, Entertainment, etc.
  • Analysis
  • Opinions
  • Insightful articles
  • Crossword, Sudoku, etc.

Now, consider the first category – this is probably the most affected thanks to the countless web-sites available. The new tools like Twitter, Facebook make the news spread faster. Hence, this might be an area where the information when it appears in the daily paper most often becomes stale. Agree to a certain extent that the web will take over the place held by the newspaper in this aspect. But. This is where the latest Apple Gadget – iPad – comes to the rescue of the newspaper. With subscriptions, the newspaper can continue providing news to the viewer as and when it happens. Of course, the industry has to remodel themselves to this new invention so that they can still survive. The strongest still survives in the age of the web.

What then, of the other categories? You still need experts to do analysis of events – one might argue that blogs are available in surfeit. True, but how do you get the genuine ones? If they are experts in their field, would they be ready to share it on their blog? They would much rather write it on a syndicated column for a newspaper (who can afford the price). Similarly, opinions of people who matter come at a price which is again affordable by the newspaper giants only. As mentioned earlier, the newspapers have to remodel themselves to include the experts who write in digital ink as well as the traditionalists.

The other innovation that will very soon start happening is sponsored tweets – newspaper will start sponsoring twitterers to ask specific questions to analysts, celebrities so that their answers can be then incorporated into the article for completeness. Interviews will soon become a series of 140-character Q&A.

If the newspapers do incorporate these changes into their model, definitely they are here. If they still continue to focus on news, Page-3 pictures for their existence, they will definitely become extinct very soon.

What is your opinion on this? Do you think newspapers have other channels to survive the battle?

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3 Responses to “Newspapers and the Web”

  1. Prateek Says:

    Very insightful !

    Editorials and Cricket news will keep newspapers alive for masses in cities and towns for the people who travel to work(or otherwise) – its a source of knowledge and a means of spending(utilizing) time – I doubt this is going to change. A large number of this population comprises of people preparing for civil services, mba interviews, etc, who read newspaper like they mean(eat) it – this count will always outdo the number of geeks reading twitter, blogs, cricinfo etc.

    As for the the majority of people who are on the other side of digital divide, love their newspapers and are not prepared to do away with it as of now.

    • Madhusudan Rao Says:

      Thanks for your comment Prateek.

      For source of knowledge, one can always catch up on Wikipedia. The amount of information that is being created/updated is enormous. Agreed that in a country like India, the access to internet is not what we would like it to be and hence newspapers are still required. But, for someone like you and me, who read most of our news on the net, do you think that a newspaper (especially ones like ToI) still make sense?

  2. Prateek Says:

    Thankyou for considering my opinion.

    Yes, for knowledge, I always (re)search wikipedia – its quenches my thirst in a click. Like you said “enormous” !

    Agreed that when people are spoilt for choices for sources of news, reading it from print media would be their last resort.

    TOI has grown worse in last 2 years(afaik) – Vineet Jain seems to be endorsing and selling(gibberish) more than publishing genuine news.

    But the irony is that people still read it, including me – as it got into my genes – read more to learn more – read the ‘editorial’. More than TOI and Hindu, I read Dainik Jagaran e-paper editorial in hindi – learnt a lot from it.

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