WAR OF WORDS

ArabAd - - NEWS -

While pre­par­ing this month’s is­sue of Arabad re­lated to the Print in­dus­try, we hap­pen across the pub­lisher’s let­ter dat­ing back to De­cem­ber, 2007 that per­fectly ad­dresses a decade old predica­ment, which most in the in­dus­try are still fac­ing, to­day. Fol­low­ing, are some of the most rel­e­vant high­lights from that piece. For news­pa­pers to re­main rel­e­vant, they will have to be­come more re­flec­tive, was the over­rid­ing state­ment ex­pressed by top in­dus­try ex­perts. . Si­mon Kel­ner of The In­de­pen­dent said that it’s the views be­hind the news that will mat­ter. The fu­ture of the main­stream printed word may not lie in who breaks the scoop, but in who can crit­i­cally an­a­lyse events, pro­vid­ing a deeper un­der­stand­ing for the reader.

In an­other ar­ti­cle en­ti­tled, “News­pa­pers Strug­gle to Avoid Their Own Obit”, the think­ing is that faith should be placed in younger read­ers, a de­mo­graphic that many be­lieve doesn’t read the news, as they have ac­cus­tomed them­selves to the dig­i­tal world, where printed news failed to pick up.

The writer Matt Moore made it also clear, say­ing, “Are news­pa­pers set to be­come yes­ter­day’s news? The pres­sures on the in­dus­try-- in Europe as in the United States-- are prodi­gious: tum­bling cir­cu­la­tion and ad rev­enue, com­pe­ti­tion from the In­ter­net, the pro­lif­er­a­tion of free papers. Rapidly chang­ing tech­nol­ogy and con­sumer trends have made adap­ta­tion es­pe­cially dif­fi­cult. But Euro­pean ed­i­tors in­ter­viewed by AP ap­pear strik­ingly op­ti­mistic about the fu­ture. They see the online me­dia ex­plo­sion more as an op­por­tu­nity than a threat and ex­press con­fi­dence they can pro­vide the con­tent, read­ers need --whether it’s ac­cessed on newsprint, a com­puter screen, a smart phone, or a fu­tur­is­tic elec­tronic scroll.”

One thing is cer­tain, papers should look be­yond short-term rev­enues and fo­cus on en­sur­ing suc­cess in the long run. News­pa­pers need to start ap­peal­ing more to younger gen­er­a­tions be­fore they be­come all too ad­dicted to TV and the In­ter­net, and should hire In­ter­net ex­perts to help ‘soften up’ their prod­ucts for more gen­eral ap­peal.

Some Euro­pean ed­i­tors pre­dicted the me­dia revo­lu­tion un­der­way may even al­low them to re­turn to the deeper, more so­phis­ti­cated jour­nal­ism, yet how that new em­pha­sis on qual­ity will play out re­mains un­cer­tain.

There are par­tic­u­larly re­veal­ing statements of me­dia pro­fes­sion­als for whom jour­nal­ism is a mild source of pro­fes­sional in­ter­est rather than power or profit. The broader ques­tion raised is whether the press is still the best pub­lish­ing medium of our time. The ris­ing dig­i­tal mar­ket has al­ready taken a few hurt­ful stabs at putting the print medium into some sort of con­text.

What is cer­tain, is that de­spite the many tried and test strate­gies, none have proven suc­cess­ful enough to guar­an­tee a full-proof fu­ture model. As a re­sult, the search con­tin­ues for that magic for­mula, which, thus far, no one seems to pos­sess.

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