Doomsayers will be proved wrong – again

I enjoyed your thought-provoking piece about the year 2014, when all
journalists will apparently be out of work. (‘I have seen the future.
And we’re not in it’, Press Gazette, 10 June).

It’s not the first
time that newspaper journalism in particular has been threatened with
extinction by someone gazing into a crystal ball.

And it’s unlikely to be the last.

I’ve
no doubt that when the first radio broadcasts made their way into
listeners’ homes, some doom-monger was prophesying newspaper meltdown.

That
was certainly the case, even as we crowded around a neighbour’s TV to
watch the coronation. Ten years later, the News of the World was
selling a record eight million copies.

And 15 years after the
worldwide web’s debut, what do we find? Global newspaper circulation is
growing by 2 per cent a year, according to the World Association of
Newspapers.

True, the circulation figures in this country aren’t
quite so encouraging, but it’s still a hell of a long drop from 20
million daily newspaper sales to zero. Particularly in the nine years
your feature timeline suggested.

As I recall, the internet was
also supposed to herald the advent of the Daily Me, a virtual newspaper
that would allow readers to select topics of interest to them. The
concept never took off. Why? Because one of the greatest assets a paper
has is the ability to surprise, to make its readers stop and think
about something they never even knew they were interested in.

The best of them still have that.

And that’s why they will still be thriving long after 2014.

John Barlow, Hampshire

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