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Old 09-22-2005, 07:33 PM   #1
Brian
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Newspapers feeling the heat in the digital age

In an post on the Rebuilding Media blog at Corante.com, Bob Cauthorn tells the tale of large newspapers announcing major layoffs as their circulation continues to decline at an accelerated rate. The author makes a very compelling argument that the newspapers have only themselves to blame. Readers are getting more of their news content online, and while many newspapers are offering online editions for subscribers, they aren't presenting a compelling multimedia experience to their readers, who will go elsewhere to get it. Newspapers are clinging to a model that has served them well in the past, but if they fail to adapt, they will quickly become extinct in the digital age.

In an ironic twist, MSNBC is running a story from the September 26, 2005 issue of Newsweek International Edition about how reading is declining as visual media takes off.

Visual media are, if anything, a more natural mode for humans than the written word, at least according to neuroscientist Marcel Just of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

David Rothman from TeleRead weighs in:

Digitizing books isn’t enough; we need linking, multimedia, you name it, to keep books popular in a Net-oriented era. P-publishers and authors should spend less time whining and more time adjusting to the new realities.

I myself am an old-time text guy and will do all I can to encourage reading. But to ignore multimedia, in 2005, to the extent that most newspapers have, is sheer folly. Book publishers should heed the lesson.


Is reading text on paper, as these two articles would suggest, a dying form of media in the digital age? Is visual digital media a better, more natural way to tell a story and provide information?

Related: E-books could be more than just type
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Old 09-22-2005, 08:26 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian
Readers are getting more of their news content online, and while many newspapers are offering online editions for subscribers, they aren't presenting a compelling multimedia experience to their readers, who will go elsewhere to get it. Newspapers are clinging to a model that has served them well in the past, but if they fail to adapt, they will quickly become extinct in the digital age.
That fits in nicely with our previous discussion, E-books could be more than just type. Although an avid reader myself, I can see the advantage of publishers -including newspapers- embracing today's technologies (podcasts, 3d multimedia) to make content richer and more informative.
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Old 09-22-2005, 08:51 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by MrSaint
That fits in nicely with our previous discussion, E-books could be more than just type. Although an avid reader myself, I could see the advantage of publishers including newspapers embracing today's technologies (podcasts, 3d multimedia) to make new, richer content available to us.
Thanks for pointing that out as a related article. It's becoming increasingly clear that newspapers are struggling to remain profitable as multimedia-rich content becomes more popular. Will book publishers be next?
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Old 09-23-2005, 02:57 AM   #4
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Book publishers will not make multimedia books unless the authors start writing multimedia books and though the technology is there ready to use, that does not seem to be the case. The author/publisher would need to hire more employees, actors and a casting crew and the books would become much more expensive. Next time a new movie is published, note how many digits there are in the budget. Though we can produce illustrated books cheaper than ever before, you seldom see one - though they are easy to include in an ebook and relatively cheap to print, it is too expensive to make the illustrations themselves.

News is different as video is today relatively easy to make and *can* enhance the experience. The disadvantage of video is that you need to be connected to a streaming source or have huge amounts of storage space.

In both cases: Video and Wi-fi hurts battery life and bigger batteries means bigger, heavier and more expensive devices. Personally I want devices to go the other way and anyone who own an iPaq 19xx (or similar) will agree with me.

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