Follow-up On “The Future of Newspapers”

In Reading on February 18, 2009 at 12:08 am

I have two predictions:

  1. Newspapers will become extinct. I don’t know when, but I think the writing is on the wall (so to speak). As computer usage goes up–and it has been, at a phenomenal rate–more and more people will take the easy way out and get their news and opinion from the Internet. Millions of people are already doing so. I still get a newspaper, and several magazines as well, but I also find myself on the Internet for at least an hour a day following my interests around the various web-sites and blogs till I’m satisfied that I’ve gotten all I want for the day. (Unfortunately, I’m never really satisfied–there’s just so much to know!)
  2. Online content will stop being completely free. In the same way that we pay for iTunes, we will pay for news, articles and editorials. People will protest at first, but when the choice is online content or nothing, they will start to pay.  Many academic sites already require paid subscriptions in order to access scholarly articles (like Jstor). And many newspapers charge–too much–in order to view articles from their archives. I would rather pay pennies a page for all the news than $6.95 an article for older news.

Paying for online content would most likely be done through micropayments, which is where you charge Web users tiny amounts of money for single pieces of online content. The biggest deterrent to that happening now is finding out a way to facilitate the payments. In this article from the August 27, 2007 issue of the New York Times, Dan Mitchell discusses micropayments and their future. Might as well start getting used to them. Their day is coming.

  1. I’m sure you’re right about papers disappearing – it will really be the end of an era, gone the way of phone booths and gas stations that had attendants – remember them?

  2. Talk about change, though! How many other things have we seen disappear in our fifty-some years on this earth? Or maybe I should say, how many new things have we seen appear? It would take forever to make that list! Just think, television was in its infancy when we were born. Jeezle Pete!

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