The death of the printed Newspaper: thoughts & Clay Shirky

Confession:  I haven’t subscribed to my local newspaper since I moved from Charlotte in 2007 & even then I only subscribed to the weekend edition of the Observer.  Truth be told, I didn’t seen the value, beyond browsing local section for community/human interest stories and scanning the circulars for deals, since all my immediate news and information needs came in pixel format. Once I moved a new city, I didn't have the immediate sense of a connection to the community (that took time), so even then the weekend edition wasn't appealing.  Once I finally felt that connection, I had developed a new Sunday morning ritual that no longer included leisurely reading the local paper.    

In a presentation I did several years ago, I highlighted some of the parallels between the newspaper industry and libraries.  Both lend their origin to the invention of the printing press; newspapers for the sharing and distribution of information about current events and happenings (primarily in the loose leaflet format) .  Libraries for the sharing and distribution of stories and the world’s formalized knowledge (primarily in the book format).     

The parallels between these two industries/institutions is easy to see when comparing the distribution center, the distribution agent and the distribution format.   Here’s the two slides extracted from my talk titled From Libraries to Lifebraries

Clay Shirky  published a piece on Medium this week that reminded me of this talk.  Titled Last Call: The end of the printed newspaper, it’s definitely worth a read.    

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