Vast Active Library and Information Science blog. From a recent library science graduate in Wellington, New Zealand. A focus on reference and current awareness tools and issues, especially free, web-based resources.

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Saturday, May 07, 2005
Techdirt: Bad News For Print Media Is Good News For Digital?  
Techdirt has a good discussion on the decline of print media. The article points out that old-school print media is clinging to outdated business models and doesn't really understand the implications of the digital environment, pointing out that many haven't even heard of Craig's List (an online classifieds-type service in the US). Heck, even I'd heard of Craig's List and I'm on a different continent - you would expect that newspaper people would be familiar with something that was potentially going to take away a big chunk of their income.

The same mentality is evident in New Zealand. Many newspapers post stories online at But they don't post all their stories, and they often post them a day or so after the print version. That isn't going to drive me back to the print version. It's going to make me dismiss your product as irrelevant to my needs and go looking for an online newspaper that's actually up-to-date.

The same problem is evident with the classified ads. I was hunting for a new flat recently. I used the Property Stuff service (which is a replica of the print classifieds service) and the TradeMe flatmate hunt (which is born digital). The latter is about 100 times better and includes images, better search capability, more text, everything. Property Stuff, in an effort not to give away something that is better than the print version, is basically worthless. Sure, the newspapers will prevent people abandoning their print versions for Property Stuff - but people will just abandon both for TradeMe or other services.

The sister of a friend of mine works for a major newspaper, and she keeps telling him to be loyal and not read the online version. But loyalty's not enough. I can go online and get in-depth news from 100s of quality newspapers around the world. Why should I pay for the print version of a local paper, which in the main carries the same wire stories as any of those other papers?