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Is print dead? Part II

Is print dead? Part II

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 II

July 28, 2009 7:57 by

The area of monetization is one Newland says isn’t being researched enough, and not just regionally. No one has got a vast money-making news content web operation right, he says. “It’s not something only the Middle East doesn’t know about yet; the world doesn’t know yet.”


What is definitely happening with the various economic, social, and communication shifts is a change in content, both in quantity and quality. In a fast-paced, constantly connected world, people have shorter attention spans and are more demanding of immediate information. And in Newland’s opinion, this can have a bad effect on content. “The digital movement in the West has certainly led to the catering-to of those with the least time and the smallest attention spans,” he says. “Now that’s ok if you want to chase revenue, but it’s not ok if you want to defend public interest. In many ways, convergence has hoisted upon the media a massive sort-of dumbing down.”

Newland says this trend is making its way over to the region, but Mroue argues the shift to digital actually gives writing more flexibility. “Call it more forgiving, allowing, accepting ways of reading,” he says. “You don’t accept this variety in print. If you find a lot of variety in The New York Times, you raise your eyebrows. If you find it on The New York Times website, you’re not really bothered, it’s fresh. For example, it’s not really important if you write a story about sandwiches in ancient Egypt and put it on the web. But if it’s not in the right place in the paper, it doesn’t make sense.”

The Internet will kill print, it is said. But the same was said of radio and TV, and neither managed to put a nail in the coffin. Print is still here – it has proved to be more hardy than people think.

Perhaps it is better to say, “The Internet will change print.” That the change is profound one – rapid, and often painful – is clear, but leading figures in the region such as Mroue and Newland insist the industry should not panic. Print is still here, and its capacity to adapt, innovate and endure, both in this region and beyond, may yet surprise the doom mongers.

First seen in Communicate magazine.

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