This is not gadget-related, but tech-based nonetheless… the respected US newspaper, The Christian Science Monitor, has become the first national US daily to junk newsprint for online editions.
In an announcement today (US time Oct 28), the 100-year-old news organisation says that, from next year, it will shift to an online version where news is continuously updated.
It will also provide daily editions over e-mail, via a subscription. This will let users print out the reports, should they wish to. The Monitor will still print a weekly edition (maybe for those who miss the smell of newsprint).
“Changes in the industry – changes in the concept of news and the economics underlying the industry – hit the Monitor first,” given its relatively small size and the complex logistics required for national distribution, [managing publisher Jonathan] Wells said. “We are sometimes forced to be an early change agent.” -source: The Christian Science Monitor
No surprise there for people watching the death of newspapers over the past few years. Unlike the many premature death knells of the past, this time it’s for real. And the reason is simple: readers’ habits have changed.
While radio and TV were not direct substitutes for newspapers, the Web with its versatility and interactivity, is more than a replacement for good old newsprint, especially for young, connected readers.
It’s not the end of journalism, of course. Though blogs (like this one) offer a wider view of things, respectable newspapers – at least those with sound journalism practices – will continue to offer value to readers through exclusives and commentaries.
At the same time, niche sections in a paper featuring motoring, sports, technology, I’m sure, will have their audiences even as news becomes a commodity.