Normally, the question we’d ask is: what are you reading? As in content you’ll hopefully share. And, of course, that’s key.
But with the recent announcement that Canada’s largest newspaper chain put itself in bankruptcy protection and with all the drastic changes to MSM in the past year or so, I wonder if media, and publishers in general, should also be asking the question: how.
It’s common knowledge we’re in a state of print transition. And, while it’s certainly a different order of magnitude, it reminds me of the switch from professional typesetters to DIY typesetting on computers. There’s a large empty building on Dupont Street in Toronto that stands as a somewhat bleak monument to that change.
But while it took down an industry, it didn’t alter the fact that we need (and enjoy) text.
It’s human nature to like and stay loyal to the familiar ways of doing things: poring over the morning paper, appreciating the visual textures of magazines, the pleasure of reading a book that seems to be speaking directly to you.
I love to do all of these. But more important is the fact that I just plain love to read.
These days I almost never read the print edition of a newspaper for news anymore – I get that from different sources, mostly online. But I do read the paper for more in-depth stories, opinion and because I don’t yet have a reader that I can take to the kitchen table (it’s on my list…).
I think media and publishers have to take some big chances, accept that the printed page has faded and act accordingly. Only then will they be able to start thinking creatively about the ‘how’; as in how are they going to provide us with a fresh and innovative way to read, share and engage with their content. And yes, make some money, too.
They need to get out of their comfort zone; we need to get out of ours.