It has become common for New Media experts to make their case that the time of Old Media — newspapers in particular — has past.
Admittedly, newspapers are struggling with some big challenges: falling circulation rates; rapidly rising costs; low online revenues; and most importantly, a challenged business model. One new media story in particular caught my attention a while back and it has been in the back of mind since. It is essentially a story that looked at a particular issue New York Times and suggested online alternatives for almost every piece of content in the classic old school newspaper. Check the story out here:
If You Love Newspapers, Let Them Go: A handy guide to kicking your dead tree habit – http://reason.com/archives/2010/06/24/if-you-love-newspapers-let-the
Okay, so the story names 43 online alternative sites to what was offered in one newspaper package. In fairness, the story points out that most of the sources have RSS feeds and can be easily aggregated within your standard RSS reader. And further, the combined news from within all the mentioned specialized web-sites may be greater that the package offered by the New York Times on any given day. But, unless you have a crazy amount of free time to peruse and filter through a massive amount of online content every day, you are likely to find the task a little daunting. Rather than try to get a more general news package online, you will more likely focus on your niche interests.
What’s more, does the average person really have the skills to differentiate good content from bad? Newspapers hire journalists to sift through all the available content each day, verify the content, and pull together the best package of content.
There will always be a lot of people looking for some else to pull together a great general news package. Who has that kind of time, expertise or even desire to find and understand a story? For my every day news consumption, I prefer to find myself a trusted person or organization who can summarize important stories in a way that I can relate to. That has always been the role of newspapers. Today, newspapers find themselves competing with bloggers, new aggregators and search engines, but if I had to choose where to place my trust, I still lean towards newspapers as my primary trusted news source.