WAR OF WORDS
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.