Michael Hirschorn, who I have worked with on failed print endeavors (Inside, the magazine, back in 2000), writes a thoughtful piece on the end of print journalism, and in particular the New York Times, in – irony alert – the Feb. issue of the Atlantic, which – double irony alert – I read online and would never have seen otherwise, given I no longer subscribe to the print version.
The NYT Co. is an investor in my company. I wish them only well. But I do differ somewhat with Michael when he writes:
Regardless of what happens over the next few months, The Times is destined for significant and traumatic change. At some point soon—sooner than most of us think—the print edition, and with it The Times as we know it, will no longer exist. And it will likely have plenty of company.
I believe the print edition will continue, but in a very different form. Print, as I’ve been saying since the days of Wired, will continue in the digital age, but it will have to pass new tests of value before it can survive. Print has to justify the costs associated with print, now that there are options for information beyond print.
The key issue Michael raises is “how will great journalism get done without institutions like the New York Times?” He goes on to answer that the model of journalism itself is due for an overhaul, and I cannnot agree more. In fact I’d go way, way further than he’s gone. More on that in an upcoming post.