The Case for Publishing Innovation

Steven Outing asks “Why does the newspaper industry… have so much trouble adapting to the changing of the media environment brought on by the Internet and digital communications technologies?”He polled people within the industry and came up with this conclusion:

“A huge part of the problem is that newspaper companies are still being run, mostly, by people from the print side — and who, though they may attempt to understand interactive media and the needs and media habits of young people, aren’t effective at moving their organizations in a radically different, and necessary, direction.”

The solution that is suggested is for “…online editors to take charge.”

The article goes on to suggest growing and promoting technical and online staff.

Time features another article this week titled “Do Newspapers Have a Future?” The article confronts some old arguments:

“People don’t pay for their news in traditional newspapers: they pay for the paper, which typically costs the company more than it charges for the finished product. So in theory, giving away the news without the paper looks like a good deal for newspapers, if they can keep the advertising.”

These points all beg the question of how much time is being spent making staff cuts vs. working on true innovations that will take business forward.

With regards to the New York Times’ most recent innovation, the Times Reader, Read/Write Web reports:

“[this] hybrid web/desktop app built with Microsoft technology that aims to give a paper-like reading experience to the screen. He said that he doesn’t see paper disappearing any time soon…”

And if you aren’t bummed enough yet, an interesting quote from a recent Jeff Jarvis piece

“Michael Wolff of Vanity Fair says the problem is that what we in media do is boring. “The form has died.” He also says the economic basis of news is falling apart and that one cannot name a news industry and organization that is not in turmoil.”

But I think Jeff’s conclusion says it all:

“It’s about listening to the people.”