Son #1 was absolutely stunned this morning when I read to him a piece that one of his favourite bands was going to be playing in Toronto in October. His shock came from the fact that the newspaper scooped the Internet. That’s right, he had not yet heard of the concert online.
Newspapers everywhere are scrambling to compete online, with blogs, podcasts, daily news summaries delivered to your in-box, and more. I Googled “are newspapers dead” to see what would come up, and there were more than 10 million hits. None other than Robert Scoble pronounced (in March this year) that his son “would never subscribe to, nor read, a newspaper,” adding, “I’ve seen the future of newspapers (and really all printed content) and it isn’t print.”
I agree that 20-somethings aren’t as used to and fond of newspapers as their parents, but I don’t agree that print is dead. Newspapers are right in trying to broaden their appeal in different ways, but there’s something about sitting on a sunny deck with the Saturday paper and lots of time to read it that is hard to replace online. Even Son #1 was happy to have a Saturday paper delivered to his door during the last school year (if mostly for the sports results and analysis!).
The same issue is raised time and again for employee publications. All I can say is that most of my clients have dabbled with doing away with print, and many are supplementing newsletters with online vehicles, but print is still preferred. I suppose that may change when all the 20-somethings are another few decades older.