The steady loss of advertising revenue, accelerated by the recession, has normalised the idea that it’s acceptable to move to the web. Even if we have the shallowest recession and advertising comes back as it inevitably does, more of it will go to the web. I think that’s it for newspapers. What we saw happen to the Christian Science Monitor [the international paper shifted its daily news operation online] is going to happen three or four dozen times (globally) in the next year. The 500-year-old accident of economics occasioned by the printing press – high upfront cost and filtering happening at the source of publication – is over. But will the New York Times still exist on paper? Of course, because people will hit the print button.
Clay Shirky just got some interesting ink (to use a trad media term) in the Guardian UK, which compares him visually to Michael Stipe of REM and quotes him re old media: “2009 is going to be a bloodbath,” albeit one that “may produce greater industry clarity.” [Read it here.]