I read this post over at Signal vs. Noise (the 37signals blog). Over Christmas my parents came down to stay with us. Despite it being a busy time my father still took the time to go and get the paper and read it.
This tells me that print isn’t quite dead, but it must be close. I certainly could have acquired most of the information my dad was reading online, and not all just from the online version of the paper. There are two important functions that a newspaper provides – news gathering, and news presentation.
On the news gathering front there are still reporters out there gathering stories and sending them to print, but they tend to be local issues. The big stories from overseas already come through specialised channels such as financial networks or AAP. Eventually the “local” stories will be gathered more democratically and content will be filtered based on our own local preferences (your location is just one aspect of your personality which is used for filtering).
That leaves presentation. Like it or lump it, some people still like sitting down and flipping through the pages of a paper. As time goes by these people will become less and less, but the question is – what do we do in the meantime? Will the news gathering function of news papers survive, and is there enough regular subscribers to news papers to fund production, distribution and what is left of old style news gathering.