Sunday, August 2, 2009

Is the News as we know it about to disappear?

People process varying amounts of news everyday, some are addicted to it others ambivalent, but no one can avoid it entirely. Yet, how we receive news and what type of news is delievered could changing dramatically very soon. Indeed, it already has changed. The internet has revolutionized American's way of life in the past 15 years in a wirlwind of creative destruction that has opened new markets and transformed industries. The news business has been no exception.

Traditional modes of mass producing news no longer dominate the industry. Traditional methods of journalism no longer seem essential. The emergence of the blogosphere and other low-cost alternative news sources, like the drudgereport or the Huffington Post, have undercut the revenue stream by diverting readership away from previous news giants. Print newspapers are particularly threatened as fewer readers subscribe for home delievery. Journalist wonder if they will have a job in their industry in 10, maybe even 5 years. It is not an outlandish question to ask if news as we know it is about to disappear, or at least drastically alter in form.

But if not that, than what? What will news look like in the future? Will it be the immediacy of twitter feeds? The diverse but opinionated blogs? How will they produce revenue? I find the most compelling suggestion to be The Nichepaper. This type of paper could reinvent what 'news' actually is. The author of the article I linked to says,

Nichepapers aren't a new product, service, or business model. They are a new institution. They're a living example of the institutional innovation that is the key to 21st century business. They're not the same old newspaper, sold a different way. They are 21st century newspapers, built on new rules, that are letting radical innovators reinvent what "news" is.

Yet, Nichepapers are only one possible business model for the future. Chris Anderson, editor in cheif for Wired Magizine, explains in an interview that the internet's challenge to the traditional press might force most news to be free. Perhaps it will be reported by part-timers contributing whatever local knowlege they have combined with others analyzing and filtering it for the masses. Its hard to imagine an industry that is so interwhoven into the daily lives of most people changing so fundamentally. But, perhaps it is because news is so inseperable from most people's existence that the industry is being forced to change.

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