May It Please The Court

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May It Please The Court
by Leonard Rivkin
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Newspapers Are Dead; Internet Dispenses Expert News And Analysis Like No Other

OK, maybe the headline is a bit overstated, but perhaps not by too much.  Think about it this way - why are you reading a legal blog?  Why do you turn to any number of other Internet sources for specific types of information?  You use the Internet for much more.  Can you get the kind of legal analysis you get here in a newspaper?  The law isn't the only search you've run on Google recently. 

And think about this ruling barring the San Francisco Chronicle and the Hearst Corporation from joining forces, with one federal judge issuing a temporary injunction to stop the merger.  The two intended to offer joint distribution services and advertising to their clients, but are now barred from doing so, at least for the nearly foreseeable future.  The case is far from over, but TROs are not issued unless there is a likelihood of success, which the government appears to have established. 

Communicating news to one another has been with us longer than anyone knows, and it will be with us for a long time to come.  The form it will come in, however, remains an open question.  Newspapers are a comparatively recent phenomenon, and have stayed with us largely because they generate profit for those who publish them and because they provide a more tangible source than radio and TV news.  The nascent Internet news sources have yet to develop a model broad enough to allow bloggers and independent journalists the same method for profit, but the medium is changing as those same newspaper advertisers embrace the Internet.

Remember when our parents listened to the radio and advertisers flocked to radio stations?  Television claimed the same demise of radio once it debuted, but we still have radio.  The Internet claims the same demise of newspapers, but as more computers come online, advertisers will likewise turn to the Internet to reach buyers, but will will still have newspapers, much like radio exists alongside TV. 

Some journalists label the demise of newspapers as a slow suffocation, but many point to the continued profitability of papers to argue that they're not dead, despite what some of their most profitable columnists think.

This discussion is not new, and newspapers are obviously far from dead.  While many would put newspapers on life support, newspapers will be relegated to the same corner as radio, alongside Internet news, but split into many sources.  Advertisers will have to join in or lose their audiences.

It's time for advertisers to catch up.  Many of us stopped reading newspapers long ago, we have TIVO to skip TV commercials and XM and Sirius to avoid radio commercials. 

Figure it out.

Posted by J. Craig Williams on Friday, December 01, 2006 at 21:38 Comments (0)


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