Imagining the future of newspapers, but only every other week


The Newspaper Association of America’s Imagining the Future of Newspapers blog is indicative of too many mainstream media blogs, and sadly, I’m with Jeff that it’s hardly surprising. When I first started off in online journalism, one of the hardest habits to break was the idea that I had only one deadline a day. It was dictated by the press run. The internet, in general, and blogs in particular also have only one deadline: Now.

There is a vibrant, global, living conversation about the future of newspapers online with a lot of voices, but this blog not only neglects most of those voices (They do have a link to a Newsbytes piece by Shawn Smith from my former employer, but unfortunately, if you read this blog, you’d get the feeling that the conversation only happens a couple of times a month.

Unwittingly, they highlight one of the biggest problems with many mainstream media blogs: Frequency. Blogs and internet media in general operate at a speed that outpaces traditional media. Most in traditional media still seem stuck in a quaint yesteryear when life progressed at a much more sedate pace, publishing only occasionally. They sneer at broadcasters, bloggers and wire reporters as slaves to sensationalism and the rolling deadline.

Certainly, speed is a cruel task master, but speed does not automatically mean sensationalism. Pace can be an editorial tool, with rapid fire posts during times of fast, key developments punctuated by longer, more thoughtful posts. Indeed, why not have a blog with two writers, a speed demon keeping on top of rolling developments and another blogging journalist freed to consider and present a broader view and context?

I guess at the pace of Imagining the Future blog that they will finally reach the future of newspapers sometime in April 2040.