Newspapers and thinking the unthinkable


When someone demands to know how we are going to replace newspapers, they are really demanding to be told that we are not living through a revolution. They are demanding to be told that old systems won’t break before new systems are in place. They are demanding to be told that ancient social bargains aren’t in peril, that core institutions will be spared, that new methods of spreading information will improve previous practice rather than upending it. They are demanding to be lied to.

The quote above is from Clay Shirky’s recent essay “Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable”, which takes an uncompromising look at the future of newspapers and journalism. With things getting to crisis point for newspapers in the US and in the UK, Dirk Singer has helpfully put together a timely report on the future of print and what it means for brands:

Dirk’s view is an accurate reflection of the current reality (even if obviously pitched from on offline PR perspective), especially on slide 21 where he says:

Online exposure is not second best
online outperforms print on reach and credibility

However, as Clay postulates, newspapers as we currently understand them may not exist on or offline in just a few years from now. And by then, social media will be even more pervasive.

The smart brands are preparing themselves for that future by learning about and experimenting in social media right here in the present.