Of digital riptides and original sin — was the decline of newspapers inevitable?

Cameron D. Norman:

Matthew Ingram does a good job of doing a retrospective on the state of newspapers and questioning the fit their current predicament has with disruptive innovation. Interesting to consider that public health and its communications are facing similar challenges with how people get and use health information. I can’t help but think there is a lot to learn here about what was and wasn’t done by newspapers (who are still around).

Originally posted on Gigaom:

At the Brainstorm tech conference on Wednesday, several media-industry heavyweights talked about a video project they did for Harvard University in which they interviewed leaders in the industry about the rise of digital and the decline of newspapers as a force in the media business, and also gave some of their own thoughts about whether media companies could have avoided what they called a “digital riptide” that sucked the business under.

Their answer was no — because the upheaval was too widespread to resist, and the disruption of their business model too financially painful. But is their analysis correct? Yes and no.

The three directors of the project, which was put together for Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, are former Time Inc. editor-in-chief John Huey, former New York Times editor of digital Martin Nisenholtz and Paul Sagan, executive chairman of Akamai Technologies. They interviewed about 60 media insiders about the…

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