Scoop away!

We feel like taking all our clothes off, dancing to “The Rite of Spring,” and we wouldn't normally do this kind of thing.

There. You have just read NUblog's contribution to the guilianist global effort of Getting Back to Normal. Paradoxical? Of course.

But aren't online newspapers a paradox?

You buy a paper for the news. Yet the Web is generally more effective in distributing news. Taken to its logical conclusion, newspapers would cease to exist. You cannot even argue that pulp editions work nicely on the bus where an online version works not at all. Ever seen anyone read Metro or another of the content-free commuter daily papers? We read newspapers on the bus to get us doing something, not so that we are specifically reading. (We suppose the corollary activity is surfing while at the office: We're doing something, but that something is not work.) Serious in-transit readers read books and magazines.

We will spare you a tedious and well-trod discussion of payments and revenue models. We have, however, defended shovelware before (largely on the basis of one-stop-shopping searchable convenience) and are known supporters of original Web content. Since those are pretty much the only options online, and since newspapers are the genre that can unite the two, why the heck aren't online newspapers so vastly better than pulp editions that they really do kill the latter off?

A not-unextensive survey by Clark Gilbert reveals that newspapers are kind of blowing it:

We will continue to spare you a tedious and well-trod discussion of payments and revenue models, though Gilbert seems to think that newspapers somehow have a chance against eBay and that city sites actually make money. That whole shibboleth was taken down a notch lo those many months ago.

We figger it’s real simple: Newspapers need to give us everything in the pulp version is capable of and as much of what it is incapable of as possible. Now, will that make money?

Posted on 2001-09-24