The Future History of Newspages

Papers are endangered. But I’m not sure the same is true about the collection, editing and printing of news. Or of journalism at its best (as well as its worst, which will always abound).

Marc (Andreessen, not Canter — from down here it’s so easy to confuse these tall guys) has started a serial posting on the subject of newspapers. It led me to revisit my advice for newspapers, which I first offered in ten-point form a little over a year ago.

It’s gratifying to see many papers following advice in numbers 1 through 6…

  1. Stop giving away the news and charging for the olds.
  2. Start featuring archived stuff on the paper’s website.
  3. Link outside the paper.
  4. Start following, and linking to, local bloggers and even competing papers (such as the local arts weeklies)
  5. Start looking toward the best of those bloggers as potential stringers
  6. Start looking to citizen journalists (CJs) for coverage of hot breaking local news topics

But still coming up short on the last three:

  1. Stop calling everything “content”.
  2. Uncomplicate your webistes, and get rid of those lame registration systems
  3. Get hip to the Live Web
  4. Publish Rivers of News for readers who read on mobile devices

So I just went to the other Marc’s site, and whoa! Dig the title of his latest post: How to build the mesh – #4: the Live Web. Way(s) to go!

Here’s where I wrote about The Live Web in 2005. Marc does a nice job of bringing the whole thing up to date. In that piece I give credit to my son Allen for coming up with the term in the first place, back in 2003 as I recall.

Hope it finally catches on.

And a hat tip to Chip Hoagland for getting me started on this.


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  3. Russell Nelson’s avatar

    Good content, Doc.

  4. Andrew Leyden’s avatar

    I wonder if the savior of the newspapers might actually be consumers who ‘tune out’.

    To explain, when I was younger, working on Capitol Hill before the Net, I was quite the news junkie. I had a direct wire into the AP Wire that would pull all the URGENT flashed stores, CNN on 24/7, and watching more C-Span than is healthy. Back then (in the 80s) you could still say to someone ‘did you see last night’s CBS News’ or ‘did you read the Post today about this or that’. There was a finality to the news–it was ‘the paper’ for that day, ‘the news’ that night. You actually felt somewhat satisfied if you said ‘I read the paper today’ knowing you ‘knew enough’ to get by for that day.

    But now with the information overload we’ve seen many normal people become news junkies in the worst sort of way. It gets to the point that you sometimes click a bookmark for a site (eventhough you are already on that page–your attention span so short you’ve forgotten what you’ve already been reading). It gets to be almost a game to know more more more. I wonder if it is actually sustainable. I don’t have time today to read the minimal number of blogs or listen to the few podcasts I’ve subscribed to. I don’t know how much more information I can take to be honest.

    But perhaps some people might ‘tune out’ from this news overload and seek just that which enables them to say ‘I’m informed enough for today’. Perhaps the news junkies will find a way to just be satisfied without 24/7 live this and that. In that sense perhaps the ‘finite’ news sources producing relatively ‘static’ news pieces (papers, magazines, tv) might still have a role to play.

    Just some random thoughts in no certain order…

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