Changing Media Formats

I am in the middle of planning for PodCamp Philly, Sept. 7, 8, and 9.  One of the interesting presentations that’s in the works is by Quincy MacDonald, of McGraw Hill, talking about how Traditional Media (publishing) and New Media can work together.  Want to know what to do to find a publisher and write a book proposal?  These sessions will be great for you!

This reminded me of a conversation I had with relatives recently.  My father in law wondered why my kids weren’t reading the newspaper every day.  To me, the answer was obvious- we don’t get the daily paper anymore at the house and thus it’s not part of my kids daily ritual the way it was for me or for my parents.

Instead, we pick up the weekend paper, often the Sunday New York Times or Philly Inquirer, but we don’t get the daily paper the same way my folks did when I was kid.  I read the New York Times daily online and I am a premium subscriber, but I don’t think my kids “see” me reading the paper the way I saw my folks read the paper every day.  I get my information from NPR, some broadcast news, and the internet.  This is what my kids will know as they grow up, and it will undoubtly influence the choices they make when they grow up.

This is what I see as the largest threat to newspapers- that many kids aren’t growing up withthe newspaper as part of their daily morning ritual.  They can get sports scores by RSS- they don’t need the paper in the same way we did growing up, and therefore, it won’t be a Need or a Necessity for them when they are adults.  In contrast, our kids see us reading books and magazines at every turn.  We seem to use an excursion to the bookstore like some people go to the movies, and thus books, magazines and bookstores are part of my kid’s daily vocabulary and vernacular.

I’m not sure what newspapers can do to lure me back and make the paper part of my family again.  Time contraints and costs make this an item that’s easy to cut out of the budget, especially since I can access and print most of the information  I might want at home, without the bulk of all that extra paper around the house, especially when at least half of it goes unread on a daily basis.

What do you think?  Is the biggest threat to newspapers this one, or is it that we aren’t used to paying for content, there seems to be a ceiling on what we’re willing to pay for “disposable” news, so the revenue stream for newspapers is limited?    I don’t know for sure, but would love to hear what you think on this.

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