Aug 30, 2010

Do young people still become old people?

In an interview with the Economist, New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen explains the dilemma all newspaper face as succinctly as I've ever heard :
The cost of changing settled routines seems too high, but the cost of not changing is, in the long term, even higher. A good example is the predicament of the newspaper press: the print edition provides most of the revenues, but it cannot provide a future. I know of no evidence to show that young people are picking up the print habit. So if the cost of abandoning print is too high, the cost of sticking with it may be even higher, though slower to reveal itself. That's a problem.
Currently, old people keep print alive. Yet, young people inevitably turn into older people. I wonder if there is any evidence to show young will pick up the print habit when they gray? Or has too much changed? Perhaps our massive technological revolution has made it impossible to predict what younger generations will do. Maybe we'll return to print as a way to ground ourselves in the tangible; or maybe print is simply too inflexible to carry the news in way we'll want to ingest it.

On another note, Rosen is asked to list media outlets that are practicing journalism the right way. Here's his answer:
Particularly good at what they do: Advertising Age. Gawker. Wired. Voice of San Diego. The New Yorker. The Economist. (Disclosure: You're The Economist!) Rachel Maddow. Frontline. The New York Times. West Seattle Blog. Texas Tribune (Disclosure: I'm an advisor there). "To the Point" with Warren Olney. The Atlantic. "This American Life". The Guardian. Jon Stewart. There are probably some regional newspapers doing a great job that I simply don't read, but fewer than before.
Wedged in between the Texas Tribune and The Atlantic... annoyed to follow Rachel Maddow, gratified to proceed "This American Life."

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