Whenever I talk to a new media practitioner–ok, cheerleader– I hear something along the lines of ‘new media does not kill old media –it only complements it.’ I cheer along, being a staunch supporter of the business model that grew out of Strasbourg, Germany, and the one that grew out of Mountain View, California.
So the news that the Rocky Mountain News shuttered last week seems like an unfair blow to the head of this (romantic?) dual-platform idea. One reader comment to the last article on the RMN online site suggested that it was
demonstrating how the market is suposed to run. When a company is mismanaged and refuses to keep up with inovation and the modernation of an industry. When a news outlet makes itself biased and slants stories from a loose dog to elections. Then the outlet goes out of business … There is a differance between op/eds and news.
I have never read the paper, but I can tell you that it’s not only print media that co-mingles news and op-eds, and those darn cat (or dog) stories. But sanwiched between those silly nuggets is real information that you wouldn’t get elsewhere. More so in newspapers. They may not cover it with the speed of, say, The Drudge Report, but print journalists bring in the mind-set and passion to go deep and sideways to inform us, and perhaps connect some dots. Another RMN reader commented that “Your front page was our front door.”
Ironically, today we get news through the back door. I am a huge fan of RSS, for instance. I just got a good summary of news tips from some folk I follow on Twitter, since it is a community –whether they are journalists or not– that keeps watching out for each other. Twitter, to me, is actually the side door, the window left slightly ajar to let some air in. Occasionally someone slides relevant information through the crack. But I also get a huge dose of valuable information from my skinny, but well-put together community newspaper that isn’t being blogged about or conveyed in 140 characters.
We twitterers, voyeurs of Google alerts, and purveyors of the speeded up news cycle ought to not be so quick to write the “I told you so!” piece about the demise of Print.