Wednesday, January 14, 2009

People are talking at

Another interesting conversation is breaking out at The issue at the table is the role of Print for newspapers.

Tim said:
The web then becomes the train line, and print outlets the station.
Before that he said
Roll up the digital work into a recoking into a print artifact -- this seems to be the emerging paradigm for the role of digital work in academia, NOT primarily because of cost, but because of the relative recognition of and prestige for the different forms. Write the blog, create the public site, edit the online archive, and then use that work / those documents as the basis for an article or more
Before that I said (slightly edited here)
Instead of publishing on the basis of the calendar, Print on the basis of events and the news cycle.

The world of news is lumpy. It speeds up and slows down. The calendar is a remnant of the Cartesian world, which was a constructed reality in the first place, invaluable for the industrial revolution but less and less relevant today. As his been well said on this site, the news is a process. And real life is process. Our readers want the right information in the right form at just the Right Time.
Jim said it best. My two cents is that Print is many things. It can be a token, a tool, or a toy. People like tokens, tools and toys. They will willingly pay for them. The web is interactive TV + search + telephone + filing cabinet + a really cheap way to sell stuff.

What's new is that the tech has radically lowered the cost of TV, telephone and filing cabinets. Search is free to the user and will remain so. Sometimes users will pay for TV - cable, HBO, sporting events. Users have paid for telephone in the past, now less and less - Skype, Vonage. Users have paid for newspapers, in the past. Now, not so much. Newspapers earned their profits in the past by being the only the game in town. Monopolies are always a good business - ATT, ABC, CBS and NBC.

But, people still buy books. The book publishing model is not broken, just very inefficient and too expensive. To be fair, book publishing, in the past, had to produce product whose sales no one could predict - returns, remainders. Eventually they will discover how to use web analytics to make better predictions. It will still be very hard to create a good book. But it will be much cheaper to sell it.

The issue is not "Will x media survive?". The issue is what will people pay for that media. The good news for Printers is that people will pay for tokens, tools and toys. The bad news for any business that in the past lived on superior "knowledge" is that information is becoming free or very, very cheap.

For our Print industry viewers:
Consider that more people are talking than ever before in human history. The new thing is that those conversations are being captured and can be retrieved. Then consider that the tools exist - XML, et al. - to easily take those conversations and translate them into Printed tools, toys and tokens.

It's either the digital 4 page newsLetter ( 14 x 20 flat, 10 by 14 folded) printed in full glorious color) for an audience of the 150 most powerful people in a place or organization. Or the multipage sheetfed newsLetter (produced in glorious color) Or the cold set web produced newsPaper (usually black only - or less glorious, but adequate color) for a network of communities who care about it. Which one is appropriate? It depends on the Time.

Folks who are doing the talking don't know about what Print can mean in the Google-Mart economy. Maybe we should make some Time to tell them. Here's a hint: follow the links to figure out where is located. I'm pretty sure it's in Minnesota. If your printing company is close by, get in touch with them.

Or, consider adding to your bag of tricks becoming a Publishing Center. Or check out this articles on the value of multi-channel advertising at Media Post. Or this one that gives you data on what they are going to do in 2009. It will help you understand the big brand marketing problem if you are in the Solutions Provider bucket.

For our journalist viewers:
Try to call your local printer. With a little luck, they will answer the phone. Meanwhile, you can check out this at Miller-McClure about how the new tech might make your job easier.

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