Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Letting go of the Globe


I cut the cord on Friday and like millions of others I cancelled my subscription to the Boston Globe. It hurt. In part because I knew that I was a another dagger to the heart to a publication that is in critical care after being poorly managed by the Old Grey Lady.

But also, I've read the daily newspaper since I was in high school. That's a long time back, long enough ago to remember when a newspaper influenced our daily lives. Long enough ago to remember that investigative reports ferretted out coruption rather than the best bar for a Cosmo.

In college, I read three newspapers a day, the Globe, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal because I wanted to know learn about the local scene and read opposing view points in national media.

Letting go was hard.

But towards the end of my life long addiction to reading the daily newspaper, I found that I read less and less of the print edition of the paper everyday. In the end, all I had left was the habit of picking up the newspaper off the stoop. But one phone call took care of that, no 12 steps needed.

I am in communications because I like it. I like the news and I like being able to shape it and to be able to talk about it. This blog will be about my love for the news and what I think is going to happen to the communications industry in the next five years.

As I try to re-imagine a world without the daily paper, I am going to use this blog to look at how technology is reshaping the communications industry and how that ripple effect is changing society. I will not focus solely on the print media and its successor the Internet, Social Media, Web 2.0, New Media or what every you want to call it because with all of the print media's navel gazing the shift that television has undergone has been largely underreported.

According to blogger Simon Day review of a University of Pennsylvania Study:

The study analysed reports from 26 major newspapers, the evening news from ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS, and the prime-time slots of CNN, CNBC, Fox News and MSNBC, dating from 2000 until 2009. Statistically the two media disciplines saw very similarly significant reductions in audience base. Evening television news has an audience of 23 million people every night, this is down from 32 million in 2000. Newspaper sales have fallen from 56 million per day in 2000 to 47 million, The Times reported.

However, the media coverage of the decline was particularly partisan. The study found 900 articles on the decline in newspaper circulation in the 26 newspapers, compared with 95 about the drop in broadcast news audience. Television news shows reported on the newspaper readership decline 38 times, but only covered the audience decline of their own audience six times, according to The Times.

Reporting on the media industry's woes was dominated by major figures of the industry. The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post were sources of about half the articles on newspaper and television usage, while cable networks CNBC and Fox were responsible for almost half the reports on usage declines for both mediums.

To say nothing of our reading habits in general. One of the most literate nations in the world has embraced a world without books.

I want to look at our sources of information, how they are presented to us and how we choose them.

It's a tall order and we are just getting started, but we have all the time in the world. Let the adventure begin.

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