newspaper

This just in! Radio to kill newspaper industry!

Friday, May 4, 2012 - 11:00am

Step back with us (and the Smithsonian Magazine blog) to the 1938 issue of Short Wave and Television. A story in that issue, "Radio to Print News Right in Your Home," was a report that developers were testing a system to deliver data over radio waves to print a newspaper right in your home! (The image shows the cover of the same publication, but from an issue 4 years earlier. We particularly enjoy the idea that the cover story was apparently on page 590... pity the postman delivering that magazine.)

Certainly such an invention would decimate the traditional newspaper industry. (In fact, it's our opinion that if you didn't buy it from a one-legged paperboy on the corner, it's really not "news.")

Smithsonian writes, "This invention of a wireless fax, as it were, was credited to W.G. H. Finch and used radio spectrum that was otherwise unused during the late-night hours when most Americans were sleeping. The FCC granted a special license for these transmissions to occur between midnight and 6am, though it would seem that a noisy printing device in your house cranking away in the middle of the night might have been the fatal flaw in their system. It wasn’t exactly a fast delivery either, as the article notes that it takes 'a few hours' for the machine to produce your wireless fax newspaper."

Also, "battles between formats would continue right on into the 21st century as the fight over newspaper paywalls, cord-cutters, and ebooks continues to dramatically shift our media landscape."

There's more, and some great images, in Smithsonian here.

The Atlantic: Established media see the key to their survival online

Friday, April 20, 2012 - 11:15am

"These days, even the stalwarts of traditional media make themselves available on call, on screens of all sizes, and in evolving ecosystems of free and paid versions," writes Peter Osnos in The Atlantic. "What were once simply great newspapers, magazines, television, and radio are now websites with all the trappings, and that's where the audiences seem to be headed in droves."

The nation's most-established and traditional sources of news have all made very significant investments in digital distribution: online video, blogs, photo galleries, podcasting, mobile applications, widgets, and more.

"Major public radio stations, such as WNYC in New York, WBUR in Boston, and WBEZ in Chicago, have also turned their websites into bastions of multimedia to build their audience share."

What of social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)? While "not yet the moneymaker forecasted for it," it is useful to spread "the word for those digital products that are generating cash."

Read "Even Old Media Institutions Are Acting Like New Media" in The Atlantic online here.

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