Via Jay Rosen
comes a discussion sponsored by the Newspaper Association of America about how to "reinvent" the print newspaper
. Of course, it seems like the premise here is a bit skewed. It's like saying "how to reinvent the horse-drawn carriage" rather than "how do we improve transportation." There's no rule that news has to come in print form, but it seems like some newspaper folks believe that print has special powers. As Rosen highlights, Charlotte Hall, an editor from the Orlando Sentinel, says during the discussion:
It stops the clock once a day and takes an assessment, offering the kind of in-depth and analytical work that the 24/7 breaking news world on the Web cannot provide. Print is good at the things the Web is not good at--watchdog, explanatory, enterprise, narrative storytelling.
That sounds good, but it's not print
that's doing that. It's the reporters and editors who are doing that -- and there's absolutely nothing stopping them from doing it online as well. And, therein lies the problem. Some folks in the newspaper world seem to have imbued "print" with special powers that it just doesn't have. Yes, for many people print newspapers are convenient -- and they don't necessarily need to go away. But it seems that so many people get so focused on the physical paper that they forget about actually serving their community.