Tuesday, March 27, 2007

When will newspapers die?

Philip Meyer, a journalism professor at the University of North Carolina, once predicted that “the last daily newspaper reader will check out by the year 2044.” Readers could still access news online and through their PDAs, pocket PCs, podcasts and other electronic tools.

When do editors expect the transition to be complete? When will the last newspaper be printed?

“I really don’t care,” said Denis Finley, editor of The Virginian-Pilot. “It’s like predicting the weather – you never know.”

“I think the most important thing is can journalism continue to be a valuable source,” he said.

Few editors believed that the printed versions would become completely extinct. “I think newspapers will be around in one form or another,” said Karen M. Magnuson, editor and vice president/news of the Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester, N.Y. “News will be reported in different ways.”

Tom Warhover, executive editor for innovation at the Missourian, said newspapers would still be around but would “look more like magazines with less breaking news and frequency. … People will look for breaking news online.”

Jeannine A. Guttman, editor and vice president of the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, said some readers will always want the news in paper format.

“I don’t see the gloom and doom of newspapers vanishing,” she said.


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