Pyrrhic Practices to Preserve the Past
I’ve spend much of the morning today watching a seminar in which eight daily newspapers from different European nations present their endeavors to generate subscriptions to their websites. I was perhaps the only one of the 1,200 people–virtually all from other daily newspapers, watching this online seminar not for its tips about how to generate online subscriptions but to assess how still myopic and misguided is the world’s newspaper industry. That industry, an integral product of the Industrial Era, botched its adaptation to the Information Era (an adaptation that nonetheless would have transformed that industry into something else). The error that botched its adaptation was that the industry’s ‘digital’ (i.e., ‘online’) pioneers (1995-2005) myopically misperceived computer-mediated technologies merely as means to delivery texts, still photos, and graphics, without purchasing, printing, and distributing paper editions. In other words, they saw online merely as a electronic distribution mechanism and websites as as non-paper versions of their traditionally printed editions.