Professors and journalists and bloggers are all bloviating endlessly about the decline in newspaper circulation. Here's another editorial about it that's worth reading. From Don Campbell, a lecturer in the journalism program at Emory University, and a contributor to USA Today, which is where this appeared yesterday (link via Romenesko) .
He starts out talking about how even his journalism students don't read newspapers. Ugh. So depressing. He goes on to describe succinctly how the technology we use to deliver the news is outdated, and is on its way out, so that 10 or 25 years from now, newspapers will be "niche products." The best part, though, is that he discourages the tired paradigm of pitting journalists against technological innovation:
Too many news executives assumed, or hoped, thatthe new technology was a fad that could not compete with themonopolistic natural order run by those who answered to a highercalling — "journalism" — and who had an enlightened view of whatreaders need.
They were wrong, but this is not aboutjournalism anyway — it's about consumer empowerment fueled bytechnological innovation. [emphasis mine] And if editors and publishers want to keeptheir journalism franchise — if they don't want to end up working forYahoo! or Google — they're going to have to prove that they are atleast as smart in packaging and delivering information as they are infinding and reporting it.
My absolute favorite part, though, is this optimistic assessment: There will be a market for serious reporting and good writing. But thefuture belongs to those with ink in their veins who can get beyondnostalgia and live on the cutting edge.
Except, um, journalists won't use ink anymore.