Greenslade at the Guardian notes some off-hand remarks from Niklas Zennström:
“I don’t read as much paper as I used to and I think they will obviously be challenged. The thing that is a challenge is the daily press – you have free newspapers and quality newspapers and they each have to find their own markets, but I don’t think they’re dead…..There’s always going to be a need for in-depth journalism.”
I agree with him about the journalism but won’t that be delivered on the net rather than newsprint?
To which one can reply “Of course, and newspapers and magazines can work on the web — provided they (to echo Zennstrom) find their own markets.” The most interesting thing about Zennstrom’s comments is that he assumes that people of his generation are less into newspapers, less into reading paper, but that there will still be a real role for free newspapers and quality newspapers if they find the appropriate way of living in the web. I am sure that this is what he meant and am surprised that Greenslade does not take the obvious conclusion, that there is a future for digital newspapers. And of course for digital magazines. In the web.
Roy Greenslade is a credible commentator but he sometimes appears to be transfixed, like a rabbit in car headlights, by the evidence that circulation of London papers is falling off a cliff. He should take another look at Rupert Murdoch’s enlightened speech on the digital future. Murdoch’s enthusiasm is appropriate and necessary for the print industries. Of course print is challenged by the web. But print can use the web to find new ways of serving the market.
There is a slightly fuller account of Zennstrom’s comments at journalism.co.uk.