So, here's the concept of this blog: Newspapers, we all know, are drowning. There are reasons for this, numerous reasons, some complicated, some very simple, some interesting, some boring as sin. The times are changing. The economy is in the tank. Readership is breaking into niche audiences. The business model is broken. Print is dying. Newspapers lost touch with readers. Readers lost touch with newspapers. On and on and on and on and on.
People also feel very differently about what's happening to papers. Some say good riddance. Some worry for the future of Democracy. Some believe newspapers wrote their own death notice with their greed and stubborn reluctance to adjust to a changing world. Some believe this future was inevitable, that the overpowering newspaper business that once existed could not survive, it had to be picked apart piece by piece like the fish in "Old Man and the Sea." Some believe that a technological breakthrough and an economic turn can put newspapers (or whatever they will be called by then) a new life -- there are more readers now than ever before. Some think that if you hooked up a heart monitor to the newspaper business right now, you'd get a straight line.
I suspect that if this blog gets going, then we will discuss all these topics at some length. But, for now my idea for this blog is a bit different. What I am hoping it can become is a collection plate for ideas, thoughts, schemes, designs and general philosophies about the future of newspapers.
And by "newspapers" I don't mean the newsprint and ink product that may or may not get thrown into your driveway. If there's one thing everyone can agree on, it is that the future of newspapers as we know them is no future at all. No, by newspapers, I am talking more about how people will get their news -- and who will be the ones delivering it -- as the future becomes now.
I'm hoping to do very little writing on this. What I would like to do is find smart people -- business people, editors, bloggers, writers, readers of all kinds -- and have them rant about the business any way they would like. Do you believe that newspapers are dying because of their political spin? Do you think the Kindle is the future of papers? Do you believe that newspapers are simply going down because of the incompetence of the bosses? Do you just want to write a bit about what newspapers have meant to your life?
I would love to have these stories or essays -- long or short -- describe what you think has happened, and more where you think it's going, if anywhere. I hope this thing can become a bit of a slot machine, where you never know exactly what you will get.
So, for that, I am hoping to go on the inspiration of friends, strangers and everyone in between. You can email me here if you have something to say, anything at all, about newspapers. And that's how this will begin.
Anyway, maybe this goes nowhere. We'll see what happens.