Globe Strives to Survive

One of the battles that has emerged along with the Web 2.0 is the one that takes place daily between Internet news and the traditional sources of information. It’s no surprise — everyone is plugged into the Web anyways, so why not use it as your source of News? But the problem for corporations rests in the Second Web, where they no longer have exclusive control over this most recent medium.

Once again, we see the conflict between the two worlds — traditional and Webbed. Bloggers and other writers online can give their thoughts on events and summarize occurrences more effectively than any other small-time writers have ever been able. Not only that, but the businesses responsible for the other media are not able to charge for online services if they are to expect to bring in regular readers, because of the fact that free sources are so much more frequent and equally reliable. The News is becoming difficult to quantify, particularly economically. And this has newspapers and other such media shaking in their booties.

The inspiration for this commentary? The Globe and Mail has announced a change of face. It’s only a style change, I know, but one comment to me sums up the fear lurking behind this decision.

Moreover, we had never viewed the Web as competition, but rather as an exciting new means of telling Globe stories to Globe readers. The Wall Street Journal even wrote an article about us as an industry success story.

Still, we didn’t want to fall into the complacency trap. I told the Wall Street Journal reporter that the industry appeared headed for a cliff and being at the back of the line, while better than the front, was of no lasting comfort. Two great questions hung in the air: What was a newspaper about in a digital world and what would the Internet be when it grew up? We needed to think through the onrushing future and how best to serve the three and a half to four million Canadians who read our paper and magazines or visit our websites.

The editor (?) begins by expressing supreme confidence in the newspaper’s recent developments. But to me, the next paragraph suggests strongly that it is more that they have managed to pull away some readers from other papers, rather than competing with the Web. The newspaper industry as a whole has not been reasserting itself so much as the leading newspapers have been shuffling their order.

In short: The Web 2.0 is winning. Paying for the news is becoming obsolete. Earning money via news is not, mind you — advertisement still costs money on online news sites — but the cost is no longer being directed immediately to the audience. A small victory, perhaps, but the change of face of the Globe in Mail bears the markings of a slowly-shifting tide in favour of the World 2.0.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. blackberry guy
    Apr 26, 2007 @ 19:39:00

    World 2.0? (in your last sentence) I hope change isn’t as drastic as all that!

    I think the print media will survive, even if we have fewer choices available to us. (The Globe and Mail will continue to be one of our choices, in Canada.) Remember, newspapers have already survived the invention of TV; and the book industry continues to thrive despite the invention of the computer.


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