About Me

  • I've spent more than 25 years at the intersection of traditional and digital journalism. I've helped to invent ways to read and interact with the news and advertising on computer screens and iPads, and before that, I wrote news stories on typewriters and six-ply paper. I co-founded WashingtonPost.com and hyperlocal pioneers Backfence.com and GrowthSpur; served as editor of Philly.com; taught media entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland; and have done product-development and strategy consulting for all sorts of media and Internet companies and startups. You can read more about me here.

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April 28, 2008


linda smith

Without a doubt, the trend is, and has been content online. The paper dinosaur will continue to age and eventually become extinct, unless it evolves into a more useful means of delivering information, beyond the static, outdated information it's delivering today. Of course, my Dad, at age 78, still likes his paper. He's the only person I know that has time to read it with his morning coffee.

I'm surprised it's taking this long, however I recognize news organizations have people and processes in place and resistance to change is great. Editors, no offense..and I'm not trying to create a storm here, seem to be the most conservative, unwilling group to welcome change. At least that's been my experience..except for Mark, and a few others, of course!

Writing for the web requires a different writing style than writing for the paper, and traditional writers that have been writing for the paper will need to change, and/or new staff will need to be put in place. Maybe the future looks like this: Gen Xers or Yers are hired and type the online articles using text messaging short hand. (OMG! Strunk and White will roll over in their graves)

After all, I believe it's the Japanese youngsters who are writing recognized novels in this shorthand on their PDA's while they commute!

Finally, e-letters and e-alerts distributed by news organizations must improve in format and content, and need to become even more personalized and timely...PDA friendly will be a must.

The 'push' at the consumer world is gone. Welcome the 'pull' world - content when, where and how the user wants it 24/7. If you don't deliver the experience they want...somebody else will.

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