When I was a youth, my grandmother gave me a pin that read “Chivalry isn’t dead–it’s just been in a coma for a thousand years.” That and her typed “business” card about sexist remarks, which I discussed in a previous post, should give you an idea of her view of the world and the world of men. Bare with me now as I tie that remembrance to the world of publishing: If newspapers are still largely run by men, and many argue are slowly dying, could it be that like chivalry they’re simply in a coma?
The Inksniffer seems to agree. In his post a couple of days ago on internet metrics and the death of the newspaper, British journalist John Duncan argues that “Print may be fast asleep. But it’s not even close to being dead.” He goes on to examine web and print statistics from the Guardian, tracing mathematical and data-retrieval steps that any maths lover will appreciate. You can read more on his post.
Though Duncan concludes that web metrics can’t confirm the death of newspapers, can something else entirely do so? Perhaps if newspapers start thinking like futurists, they can reinvent themselves and not only stay alive but flourish once again.
Thanks much for the comment — I’m glad to know I assumed your agreement correctly. Futurist Jim Dator, whom I interviewed for my column in the Honolulu Advertiser, told me that he thinks we mis-educate young people about how to write, which I would assume includes future journalists. Perhaps it starts there?
If only newspapers would indeed think like futurists… The problem with the profession is an obsession with the present, probably part of the culture of daily deadlines and telling people about things that have just happened. We can all chuckle gently at the fact that by the time a newspaper has recognized a trend, it is already, by definition, nearly over. That and a tendency to think far too hard about what to do. As the man said: “And thus the native hue of resolutionIs sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,And enterprises of great pith and momentWith this regard their currents turn awry…”