On the whatevereth day of Christmas, my browser gave to me:
If your website's message boards read like a men's locker room, here's a clue that you're out of sync with society. A new report from the Pew Internet and American Life project points out that women now outnumber men online in the United States, and that's especially true in the troublesome (for newspapers) 18-29 age bracket.
Have I been stuck on a message for this long? Steve Rubel's post on how to read books for free using Google reminded me I haven't looked very closely at Google Books since it got fat with content. I searched for my own name (doesn't everybody?) and found myself quoted in Christopher Harper's 1999 "And That's the Way It Will Be:"
I received some thoughtful email feedback to my best-case scenario, five years out item. Here's one point that I'd like to focus on: "Video and audio content generation will become a normal product of the papers. Non-printable media must become more prominent in the future."
I agree wholeheartedly. I'm just not sure what form it should or will take:
I was asked to write 250 words encompassing an "ideal vision of what a newspaper business unit will look like, five years from now." I can't hold it to 250, but here's a 488-word look into a best-case scenario:
The website will no longer be an "online edition." Print and online products will have evolved significantly apart, each focusing on the unique characteristics of its medium, but operating as a team to serve the community.
Shayne Bowman and Chris Willis of HypergeneMediaBlog have produced an excellent overview of Our Current Dilemma titled The Future Is Here, But Do News Media Companies See It? It was written for Nieman Reports, so perhaps it will find its way into the consciousness of some newspaper editors who avoid this messy blog world.
Some key points, and some reactions:
Chicago's Sun-Times is killing the free newspaper Red Streak, which it launched hurriedly in an attempt to counter the Tribune's Redeye. In Iowa, Lee Enterprises is shutting down Your Mom, a very cool project that was built in conjunction with Northwestern University (but it's keeping the website). Lost Remote takes notice of this and concludes "young people do not want print."
Several years ago, out of frustration with available options, I wrote my own blogging software. Writing your own solution gives you at least the promise of getting exactly what you asked for. But it's not cheap, even if you aren't paying somebody else to do it. Keeping up with a changing world is expensive.