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Is print dead? Part I
A seismic shift is underway in the world of publishing. The very foundations of an industry are being redefined in real time, reports Communicate magazine. Part I
July 27, 2009 9:05 by Rania Habib
And so a debate has begun: is the end of print nigh? In the West, we’ve heard of newspapers folding and shifting to digital platforms. In the UK, The Independent‘s parent company, Independent News and Media, is in serious debt. In the US, titles are disappearing at an alarming rate, as recorded by website Paper Cuts. Things are looking up on elsewhere, though; in India, industry experts are speculating growing readership, while China recently launched the new English-language newspaper Global Times.
Somewhere in the middle, both geographically and strategically, the Middle East is also at the heart of the debate. How is the regional print industry doing, where is it going, and how is it evolving with the rise of digital?
INNOVATION THROUGH INTEGRATION
The National, dubbed by its editor as being “the last great newspaper launch in history”, is following an integrated path. “If you’re a newspaper, you have to look at it not as a newspaper, but as a content stream that is currently wrapped up in a newspaper, but which in a few years will be wrapped up into several other things, from mobile phones, to new media, to television programs,” says Martin Newland, editor-in-chief of The National.
“What I would appeal for from people is that they don’t all panic now as they did in the West, head for the hills, dismantle the great newspaper brands, and use convergence as an excuse to rearrange costs. A lot of publications in the West have panicked too early, began to shut things down and began to reach out for this great sort of thing called the digital age and convergence, without working out a practical plan for instituting it, and more importantly than that, a revenue plan.”