Monday, April 03, 2006

O/T - Guardians of the future of news?

It's taken a while but the UK's newspapers finally appear to be exploiting the potential of the net. The Guardian in particular is leading the way with two very recent innovations on its Guardian Unlimited site.

Earlier this year, it launched 'Comment Is Free', a blog-style collection of columns, opinion pieces and analysis that the Guardian says aims to "host an open-ended space for debate, dispute, argument and agreement". A very Guardian sentiment in fact. The result is a daily stream of comment pieces from a wide range of writers, normally reflecting political issues of the day. But blogging can often be an anti-establishment activity, particularly in the US (where journalists such as Dan Rather have been targeted by right-wing bloggers) and a newspaper entering the blogging fray smacks somewhat of "if you can't beat them, join them". But for pure political debate sparked off by Premier League columnists and thinkers, the Guardian's new site should make a good read...

And a good listen, for that matter. The newest addition to the Guardian's online stable are regular podcasts, audio debates available to download and listen to at will. It's a decent blow for newspapers who have been searching for ways to compete with the 'news on demand' delivered by 24-hour TV news channels and radio stations. Now you can listen to political debates on your iPod on the tube instead of waiting until you get home before switching on Sky News or BBC News 24.

But is this the beginning of the end for the printed newspaper? What will be the point of a printed record of the previous day's news when you can simply download the latest up to the minute bulletins to your mp3 player? Well, TV was predicted to replace radio and music file sharing websites were meant to make the physical CD obselete. Time will tell however if people are ready to abandon the morning newspaper and switch to the anytime podcast.


Blogger Neil said...

Good analysis, IMHO. Particularly with podcasts, we're at a very early stage; most people never get a podcast to their iPod, choosing instead to listen on their PC (we assume) so technical awareness might be an issue too. Blogs have much more widespread acceptance - but even their form puts some readers off.

4/10/2006 10:56 am  

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