More on the future of information publishing

Over the past couple of months, Aric Mayer has written some thoughtful posts on the current 'make or break' attitudes prevailing in the newspaper/magazine publishing industry. There are many paragraphs that had me nodding my head in agreement, here are two samples from one particular post...

"Apart from straight photojournalism, editorial assignments have largely become a means of showcasing one's work to a publication's advertisers. There is so little money to be made shooting editorial that many photographers see it merely as a free way of getting a large number of publicity cards sent out under the brand name of a publication."


"What we need are content models that minimize or avoid advertising entirely while returning a profit. We need publications that target a narrow and deep demographic while charging enough to operate independently. New tools and new technology are going to make this possible. More thoughts on that to come soon."

It is my opinion that we users will need to pay for content online in some way shape or form. If this does not happen, then all our news will become 'infotainment' and advertisers will rule. Ever seen the film Idiocracy? That vision of the future looks very likely unless we realise that advertisers are not philanthropists and if we want to see and read quality content, and moreover if we want that quality content to be produced at all then we will have to pay for it. If we don't then others will pay for the content they want, and the real news will be buried further under advertisements for Victoria's Secret and the latest relationship woes of movie stars.

I think the future of news and information will exist both online and in print. Daily, breaking news will be delivered online, as the medium is perfectly set up in order to deliver this information in away that can be constantly updated. More in-depth analysis will exist online but I see it being published in print on an infrequent basis. Perhaps some of it will only exist in print. It takes me all week to read the Sunday Times anyway. A good example of this already exists in the form of one of my favourite photography publications - FOTO8. Their magazine is published bi-annually while they're website is updated regularly with photo-stories, articles and blogs. They also have a physical presence in the form of a gallery and host talks and presentations. I don't know what their balance sheet looks like but in theory it looks good to me. I read online and I subscribe. Their content is something I want to see/read and as such they have my eyes and my money. And that is what any publisher is after; bottom line.

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