Sunday, November 30, 2008
There was a depressing piece about the decline of newspapers in the FT and, today, there's an even more depressing piece on the same subject by Maureen Dowd in the NYT. In fact, neither article mentions one of the most ominous developments for papers - the sudden rise of the netbook. Online newspapers have been held back by portability. Phones are too small and laptops too large and expensive to compete with the dead tree product. Netbooks are small, light, cheap and flying out of the box shops in Tottenham Court Road. They fit in the inside pocket of a Barbour (I tried yesterday). Assuming wireless connectivity becomes commonplace and free in the near future, netbooks or something similar will do yet more damage to circulations. This will accelerate the inevitable cull of titles, leaving only a few upmarket papers - downmarket ones already do not make sense - that can charge for online access. In this climate I console myself that it's better to be an old hack than a young one and even better, of course, to be an upmarket one.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 5:40 am