The recent announcements and closings in the newspaper industry might be the start of a downward spiral of closures. It's possible that eight of the top 50 papers could close in the next 18 months. Clay Shirky' essay "Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable" discusses the issues around the point that ...
"Society doesn't need newspapers. Society needs journalism."We have seen this problem before: "Appetite for Self-Destruction" by Steve Knopper covers the music industry's migration from from analog to digital over the past three decades. The digital solutions don't look anything like album art wrappers for shiny discs.
Digital avoids the need for and costs of containers that made the two business models run - printing presses and plastic molds. Without a container, the content will go someplace else. In a recent speech George Colony of Forrester made the point...
Bits want to be free .... bits want to break the law.So, where will content go?
It won't be like the wildebeest moving en mass to greener pastures. Because the container acts as an aggregator newspapers represent the head of the information tail - a few properties with the most reach. So if the head gets cut off it won't grow back but rather it seems likely content will move into the long tail. This makes it possibly more relevant and more difficult to find. Hyper-niche markets emerge tailored to smaller segments. But there is no reason to assume that different types of content will end up in the same form factor. Fast breaking news is headed toward twitter, op-ed is headed to blogs, sports to team/league centric portals, and classifieds have already left the building.
Nothing like a newspaper will replace the newspaper.
Note: The 'tweetbite' is an experiment with @streamingsocial and shud push a comment to your twitter account.