Joseph O’Connell has a good post about the community aspect that the newspapers are lacking, inspired by a blog post by Scott Anderson. It points to the drastic difference in the level of activity on (and hence the utility provided by) Craigslist vs. Newsday, during the disastrous MTA strike in NYC in December. The point is that newspapers, built principally on a legacy business model based on one-way communication, lack the community that’s enjoyed by the newer media players built on a networked platform. Joseph and Jeff Jarvis discuss some underlying reasons for this phenomenon.
I think the newspapers are lucky and have stronger inherent defenses against new media, relative to broadcast. This inherent barriers are related to the medium itself. Newspapers are paper – and not just standard paper, but newsprint broadsheets. If you have come across the PDF versions of the NY Times they give out at some hotels and resorts, you know that the online version is not an exact substitute for a real copy of the Times on your lap.
Not so for CNN or Fox. The video clip on my 15′ laptop is an extremely good substitute for what’s on TV. If I were a TV executive, I would be paying very close attention to the dynamics in print media in its battle with what’s going on online – websites, blogs, etc. The disruptive wave that broadcast media will face, as the pieces fall into place in infrastructure (broadband penetration) and hardware & software (consumer electronics), will be much greater than what the print media has been dealing with.