Friday, January 30, 2009

The future of newspapers, circa 1981

This is a fascinating time capsule, a report from KRON-TV in San Francisco about those rare people who can afford to own a home computer and are getting their newspapers electronically.

"With this system, we have the option not only of seeing the newspaper on the screen, but also optionally we can copy it, so anything we're interested in, we can go back in again and copy it onto paper and save it, which I think is the future ..." Wellll, pretty close.

The most agonizing moment? The online newspaper is complete except for "the pictures, the ads and the comics." No advertising? How will this future newspaper make money? The newsaper geek says, "We're not in it to make money; we're probably not going to lose a lot, but we aren't going to make much either." What if they'd started working then on a way to maintain their big reporting staff with the revenues from an online edition?



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