Study: Internet offers the strengths of all media

Study: Internet offers the strengths of all media.
The online section of the Project for Excellence in Journalism report on the current state of American journalism concludes with a very positive outlook for Web-based news. Along the way, it touches on something I’ve been preaching for a long time — that in the future, there will be no difference between a television news operation and a newspaper operation.

What is most intriguing is the evidence that television rather than print is suffering most (from audience erosion). This is surprising because, at this point, the Web is still largely a text-based medium. One might have thought that the print media would thus be hurt by the greater convenience that the Web offers, in much the same way that cable seems to have eroded the appeal of network television. This is not the case.

What this means down the road is harder to figure. The future, say online professionals we have consulted, is an age in which the distinctions between media blur. Online, The Washington Post will not be a newspaper company but a text, picture and video news provider. CBS News will not be a broadcaster. It, too, will be a text, audio and video news organization. Nor will news just be consumed on computers, television or in print. News will be made to fit computers, PDAs, phones and perhaps more. Before too long, people riding the subway home from work may turn on their phones and watch a network anchor delivers the news, not because the anchor happens to be on but because he or she is “on,” on demand.

Let me repeat my concern for local broadcasters. If you don’t fully embrace this technology — with resources and energy, including sales — you’re going to be in a very difficult position in a very short period of time. After all, a community cannot and will not support an unlimited number of these “text, audio and video news organizations.”

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