By Steve Outing
My latest Editor & Publisher Online column, published earlier this week, is Where News Consumption Is Heading. This column is one of those that’s getting a lot of feedback (which is always good, even if I’m being criticized — which I’m mostly not on this one). One of the more brazen statements in the column is that newspaper publishers have close to zero chance of getting the younger generation to read print editions in the years ahead. Modernizing the printed paper isn’t going to help you survive.
I quote a bunch of smart people, and a couple pointed out how the dedicated news experience is going away. I mean sitting down to read the newspaper or watching a TV news program to get your fill in one dose. To replace that will be a swirl of news coming at you in bits and pieces throughout your day, on multiple devices that you may encounter as you move around and that you carry in your pocket or purse.
One pushback on the column is that what I and the experts I quote say is the future looks bad for in-depth, watchdog journalism. If newspaper print editions die and news companies adopt the swirl-of-news future reality, society will be badly served because of the lack of paid investigative journalists who formerly were paid by newspapers, which had the room to publish lengthy reporting. I noted that only in passing in the column, and will add here that that’s absolutely the vexing issue about the media shift we find ourselves in.