“Newspapers Have No Future”

A tweet caught my eye this afternoon:

I knew there was a fire nearby work this morning… Check out the video. http://bit.ly/gJY60rless than a minute ago via web

Open the link and watch the video. Cars on fire are pretty cool, right? But do you know what amazed me even more?

That video was shot by some office employee, standing around in the company lounge. And now it’s on this major newspaper’s website, part of an entire city’s local news. That level of cooperation between news organization and regular person is awesome. The news company wasn’t there when it happened, but that guy was. So one of them reached out to the other and now that video can be shared with everyone. No egos, no red tape, just people helping each other out.

And look how fast it went up! That post went live shortly after 2pm. The fire happened at 9am, only five hours earlier. Rather than waiting until tomorrow, the newspaper got to work pushing that update right away. The days of delivering the news first thing in the morning, or even in the evening, are long gone. We want the news as it happens, especially when it’s local news.

Ignoring the video for a moment, look at the post accompanying the story. Is it full of ads? Does it span six pages? Of course not — it’s short and sweet. Only the details we care about, and nothing more. The content is concise because the newspaper understands what internet users want. We have no attention span; just give us what we care about, and maybe some pretty pictures (or in this case, an awesome video).

Oh, and did I mention that this same newspaper just released an iPad app? And that it’s gorgeous, and free, and I use it all the time?

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For all the clambering about how newspapers and other print media don’t have a future, here’s one that seems to be doing just fine.

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