I don't believe that newspapers as we know them will be essential for newsgathering to continue. Replacement with new, more nimble organizations is likely if papers implode.
Over at Marry in Massachusetts, I have a two-part rant on this, here and here. As a former newspaper and magazine guy, I get emotionally as welll as intellectually involved in such matters. Those posts are a bit long and wordy for here.
A key implication of the big issue though is that newspaper owners and editors as welll as investors and would-be providers are looking and waiting. They want a genius to provide the right answers to the questions of:
- How do they turn a profit from online news delivery?
- How do they also justify paying new gathers and analyzers?
- How do they get enough verifiable readers to recapture ad revenue?
- Can they construct a micro-payment or subscription model as easy and attractive as iTunes?
A challenge thrown out to a recent conference of journalists I attended was that the someone at least needed to figure out how trained journalists can make a living online. Lucy Dalglish of the Reporters Committee said the person who figures that out will have fortune and fame.
Newspaper bigshots have been like Pooh. Think. Think. Think. Yet they may not be the bears to find those answers.
I'd welcome flashes of brilliance on these from BMGers.