print journalism is going through a wrenching transformation, and its future is in doubt. Over the past two decades, newspaper readership in the United States has plummeted. After peaking in 1984, at 63 million copies, the daily circulation of American papers fell steadily at a rate of about 1 percent a year until 2004 when it hit 55 million. Since then, the pace of the decline has accelerated. Circulation fell by more than 2 percent in 2005 and by about 3 percent in 2006.A print newspaper is a "bundle" of services but:
When a newspaper moves online, the bundle falls apart. Readers don’t flip through a mix of stories, advertisements, and other bits of content. They go directly to a particular story that interests them, often ignoring everything else.This, it is sometimes argued, is promoting an "unbundling" of traditional newspaper services, with some becoming free on the Internet, and other more specialised services being paid for, yet users do not want to pay online, and:
few newspapers, other than specialized ones like the Wall Street Journal, are able to charge anything for their content online, the success of a story as a product is judged by the advertising revenues it generates. Advertisers no longer have to pay to appear in a bundle.Neither the first article, nor Clay Shirky's followup, which argues that What Newspapers and Journalism Need Now: Experimentation, Not Nostalgia, really offers a clear prediction of the future of investigative journalism, though Clay seems to see blogging filling this role [?] ;).
If you take as a given that academic publishing must change to meet the new realities of the Internet economy (i do), which parts will become essentially free goods, and which parts will continue to require a high level of professional competence. Even more importantly, assuming some of these services can’t be easily replaced, what are the new economic models that will provide the required compensation for them?My answers really haven't changed much over recent years. I still see the "content" of tertiary education (textbooks and lectures typically in the current system) becoming free, or at least dirt cheap. See "Gatekeepers, Open Courseware and the future of the University". That others have joined MIT since 2004 just reinforces this view. Nichthus will ask: How will such content be financed? Basically I suspect long term through either advertising or cheap prices and high volume (a sort of iTunes University ;-)
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