Good news and ideas from the World Association of Newspapers (WAN):
What will the newspaper look like in 2020?
The World Association of Newspapers asked 22 futurists, academics, industry insiders, internet pioneers and other media experts to envision the newspaper of the future, and their responses say much about the present state of the newspaper business.
Some say newspapers will resemble glossy magazines.
Some say they will be individually tailored to readers.
Some envision networks of news generators and digital news hubs.
All these future scenarios share one thing in common — they’re all based on current trends in the industry as newspapers evolve and grow as multimedia businesses.
“Envisioning the Newspaper 2020″ will soon be published by the Shaping the Future of the Newspaper project, exclusively for members of WAN.
But the report served as a centrepiece Thursday in a seminar on the future of newspapers at the World Digital Publishing conference, which drew 400 media executives from 74 countries to Amsterdam.
Here are some excerpts from “Envisioning the Newspaper 2020,” the first of seven SFN Strategy Reports for WAN members to be published in 2007 and 2008:
“Regardless of the name of the service, the core competency of news and newspaper publishers of the future will consist of generating content from highly efficient networks, technically process and manage them via networks and continuously or at regular intervals disseminate these contents through a multitude of channels. The recipients of the content will increasingly want to decide for themselves which channel they want to use at which time – letters and images on conventional or electronic paper, the Internet, mobile phones or a combination of various information carriers.” Gerd Finkbeiner, Chairman, Man Roland, Germany
“As digital media takes an increasing hold on the news industry, audiences, in turn, will demand news reporting in which they can place the trust and confidence once reserved primarily for newspapers. Collaborative filtering tools and trust metrics will help to achieve those ends.” Craig Newmark, founder of Craiglist.org, USA
“A newspaper’s brand is its foundation and its greatest value. The newspaper is an institution with the greatest credibility on earth. A newspaper’s brand represents a reader’s trust, based on the supposed expertise of collaborators to understand the world, identify what is relevant, deeply investigate and report with faithfulness and impartiality, clearly distinguishing fact from opinion and publicity. This is what makes a newspaper different from other players in the market, even those equally capable of managing and distributing information.” Flavio Ferrari, CEO, IBOPE Media Information, Brazil
“Oh, printed products may well continue and in some countries still grow. But I wouldn’t mourn their deaths so long as we find ways for their journalism to live on and prosper. A newspaper mustn’t define itself by its medium. It isn’t just paper. Its strength and value do not come from controlling content or distribution. And protecting those dwindling advantages is not a viable strategy for growth – or survival.” Jeff Jarvis, media consultant, blogger and head of the interactive journalism program at the City University of New York, USA
“Indeed, the more that life becomes globalised, digital and virtual, the more, I would argue, people will seek out products like newspapers that slow things down a little and tell us what’s important and what’s not, especially at a local level. And let’s also not forget that physical newspapers, like books, are superb examples of industrial design, which, if invented today, would be greeted as a miracle innovation. They don’t need power, there’s no screen glare, they don’t crash and when you’re finished with them they can be safety recycled.” Richard Watson, futurist, Future Exploration Network, Australia
“By 2020 smart newspaper networks allow readers to receive best-of-breed material in all specialties. The un-bundling of the newspaper that began in the early 21st century has resulted in the un-bundling of the newsroom itself. Now readers sip from rich networks of content providers who excel in individual areas.”
Robert Cauthorn, CEO, CityTools, USA
“Newspaper companies will look very different in 2020. There are many reasons to be confident that our industry has the vision, the energy and the fundamental business strengths to emerge by 2020 as a multi-media communications business with a wider market to operate in than it had before 2007.” Chris Bisco, Managing Director, Publishing Division, CN Group, United Kingdom
“The future, it appears, will be one in which more information of more kinds becomes more easily available to more people. With or without printed newspapers themselves – the first near-universal information medium – it appears the purpose and the legacy of the newspaper will continue to be fulfilled.” Stephen Gray, Managing Director, Newspaper Next Project, American Press Institute, USA
“It is all about people who see opportunities where others see threats, who are creative when others are not and who are eager to get training in subjects they need for the future. They all have to be passionate about the future of media. They should, because there have never been so many opportunities in the media market.” Tomas Brunegård, CEO, Stampen Group, Sweden
“Newspapers are going to survive. Will we be doing things the way we’ve always done them? Absolutely not. In the United States, there are two types of newspaper publishers – those who think the most important part of the word newspaper is ’news’ and those who think the most important part of that word is ’paper.’ …We can’t be afraid of reaching our audience in new ways. It will be one of the keys to our industry’s successful future.” Rob Curly, Vice President for Product Development, Washington Post/Newsweek Interactive, USA
“Forget the Internet. It’s not the enemy. (Indeed the Internet will ultimately save the newspaper). Readers don’t read newspapers not just because they get their news online, but because they find them boring. There are major societal changes involved. Journalists are still working in a tradition that began with the young democracy.” Roger Black, Design Consultant, USA
“In order to grow profits in a mature economy, the key is to be able to handle the rapidly changing consumer needs by making new products and leveraging development capabilities… Thinking of the shape of the newspaper in 2020, it is not about new media formats, but rather it is about newspapers having to determine what is the added value that is provided.” Takashi Ishioka, Strategic Consultant, Dream Incubator, Japan
“The printed newspaper will get smaller and become mostly free. New technology and combination probably with mobile phones will make even the printed newspaper much more interactive than today. Low voltage e-paper or other paper-replacing foldable screens will be available to offer an alternative to the paper version, but very little interactive or cost efficient in regards to information retrieval.” Moritz Wuttke, CEO, APAC Publicitas, China
“Innovation believes in the future of newspapers, but the newspapers of the future will be very different, better and more profitable than ever if they embrace change and innovation without losing the core and soul of our business: journalism.” Juan Antonio Giner, Founding Partner, Innovation International Media Consulting Group, USA.
(If you are interested in my full vision please write me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be more than happy to send you a copy of my contribution)
“The most successful newspapers of the last decade launched Internet businesses that behaved as strategic options for the core newspaper franchises. Similarly, the most successful papers of the next decade are likely to be those that continue to launch new ventures not as replacements for the paper, or as catalysts for its imminent transformation, but instead as options on future shifts in strategy in response to changes that today can only be dimly imagined.” Michael Raynor, Distinguished Research Fellow, Deloitte Consulting
“It takes tremendous time, effort and work to convince traditional print editors that they are now part of a 24/7 news gathering and storytelling process, and that the printed product is only one of the various platforms through which news and information are dispensed. Management plays a key role.” Mario Garcia, Founder and CEO, Garcia Media
“The real disruptors of the next decade won’t be companies, but people – creative, entrepreneurial opportunists who are transforming the global economy – developers, designers, marketers, sales people, business analysts, project managers, accountants, lawyers and other professionals scattered around the globe, connecting and working from anywhere to build businesses and solve problems everywhere.” Andrew Nachison, co-founder and CEO, iFOCOS, USA
“Technical innovations will change the future of newspapers. Computers and mobile handsets double their capacity every nine months. This allows media companies to continuously introduce new and improved services. New technical innovations and improvements also drive change in human behaviour. Today, teens must be connected to their friends at all times. Their technical devices become part of their personal identity. As a result, teens carry a potential distribution channel for news and entertainment with them at all times.” Stig Eide Sivertsen, CEO Broadcasting Division, Telenor, Norway
“If newspaper companies are to survive and prosper in this new environment, managers of firms will need to engage in strategic planning and implementation that builds upon existing capabilities and uses existing skills, knowledge and capacity to improve existing papers and introduce new products that provide access to parts of the public not well served today.” Robert Picard, Director, Media Management and Transformation Centre, Jonköping University, Sweden