Why are we still having these discussions?

I saw two tweets recently about newspapers. One was by Daniel Victor, who’d just seen the New York Times’ R&D lab, and the other was by Doug Lancombe, linking to a story about how for traditional media companies, digital is the elephant in the room.

How can both of those be true? And why are we still having a discussion about the benefits of digital?

Sometimes it seems like newspapers aren’t just dinosaurs, they’re dinosaurs with an unbelievably strong desire to go play in the tar pits.

As more time passes I become more inclined to just let them, no matter how Scrooge-like that might make me seem. After all, we’ve tried the slow approach, and that’s resulted in layoffs, cuts in stories and generic local news sites. What it hasn’t resulted in, though, is the death of journalism. There are a lot of people still practicing good journalism, even at sites I hate.

So if traditional media companies don’t have a monopoly on journalism, I care less and less about saving them.

Advocates for a digital-first or digital-only approach aren’t lone kooks crying out in the wilderness. I’m not a hard-hearted capitalist, but if newspaper executives still don’t understand the advantages of digital and can’t make the Web pay, maybe it’s time they suffer the natural consequences.


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