Monday, October 09, 2006

The demise of the information dinosaur

Are we going to see the end of newspapers?

Philippine Daily Inquirer's Amando Doronila takes on the issue in today's edition of the paper:

Are days of newspapers numbered?

"AS YOU READ this piece this morning, it has to be asked if you are reading it in a newspaper or on the Internet on a computer in front of you.

"If dire predictions come true, the newspapers 'in their current form will cease to exist within a decade or two.' Some say that newspapers have a 'use by' label tucked to their ears, like perishable consumer commodities.

"Doomsday prophecies, such as this, have filled newspapers in the wake of a cover story in The Economist magazine (Aug. 26-Sept. 1) with the head, 'Who Killed the Newspaper?'

"A search on the Internet yielded hundreds of items under the label 'death of newspapers,' indicating the widespread concern in the media community over the fate of newspapers. This soul-searching emanates from journalists themselves, not from governments, officials, terrorists, corporate racketeers and underworld gangs -- all of whom have lived an uneasy coexistence with newspapers.

"They all may have tolerated newspapers as a necessary evil, but the days, if trends are correct, are fast approaching when there may no longer be newspapers or newspapermen and women to bash with torrents of libel cases or with assassins’ bullets.

"The threat to the existence of newspapers does not come from those afflicted by newspapers, but from the technological innovations spawned by the Internet -- a rival vehicle for news and information dissemination.

"According to The Economist, 'at their best, newspapers hold governments and companies to account. They usually set the news agenda for the rest of the media. But in the rich world, they are an endangered species. The business of selling words to readers and selling readers to advertisers, which has sustained their role in society, is falling apart."

Read more here.

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