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Newspapers in the Internet Age

By DemiGodez in News
Tue May 02, 2000 at 06:55:11 PM EST
Tags: News (all tags)
News

There have often been discussions about old and new media - namely, how do our old standards for information survive in the internet age? Newspapers are especially vulnerable to the internet because they have lost their edge in being the first with the news. With the internet, news once a day is old news. So, how will newspapers survive? The Post and Courier newspaper in Charleston, South Carolina has an answer.

Wired reports that the Post and Courier is including hyperlinks in their newspapers. These aren't just printed URLs, but they are barcodes that readers can scan with a special laser pen hooked up to their computer. They are then taken directly to the URL.


Does a solution like this make sense? Is it truly a way for newspapers to stay viable in light of the internet or is this a desperate attempt to evolve the dying medium? How do you think this type of technology would be received by non-technical readers?

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Newspapers in the Internet Age | 19 comments (19 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
Barcode readable URL's? Fascinatin... (3.00 / 1) (#2)
by bmetzler on Tue May 02, 2000 at 03:18:01 PM EST

bmetzler voted 1 on this story.

Barcode readable URL's? Fascinating. I wonder which OS you'll have to run to take advantage of this 'feature'.
www.bmetzler.org - it's not just a personal weblog, it's so much more.

Re: Barcode readable URL's? Fascinatin... (none / 0) (#18)
by techt on Tue May 02, 2000 at 07:31:24 PM EST

Many barcode readers sit between the keyboard and the computer, and thus scans with these are read as OS independant keystrokes.

Unfortunately, many more sit on serial or other ports/slots.
--
Proud member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation!
Are You? http://www.eff.org/support/joineff.html
[ Parent ]

Newspapers will always have a use..... (none / 0) (#11)
by Neolith on Tue May 02, 2000 at 03:18:08 PM EST

Neolith voted -1 on this story.

Newspapers will always have a use... places where you don't have net access, power, or want to be able to easily carry it and read it later. Until the day all bathrooms come equiped with terminals, newspapers are here to stay.

Nice idea but this means people hav... (none / 0) (#12)
by schporto on Tue May 02, 2000 at 03:27:06 PM EST

schporto voted 1 on this story.

Nice idea but this means people have to have these pens. Unless they come with your subscription. -cpd

Interesting idea. I would be into t... (none / 0) (#16)
by dgay on Tue May 02, 2000 at 03:39:44 PM EST

dgay voted 1 on this story.

Interesting idea. I would be into this technology. I prefer reading things digitally, but newspapers are great for bringing to the beach, reading in bed, etc. Not _all_ instances are conveninent with a laptop... I could see checking out the paper and tearing out pages I would like to follow the bar-coded "links" to later.

I don't know, it seems like a dumb ... (none / 0) (#3)
by evro on Tue May 02, 2000 at 03:39:50 PM EST

evro voted 1 on this story.

I don't know, it seems like a dumb idea to me. What's so hard about just typing it in? Then again, I guess that's akin to not having hyperlinks on the web and just typing in every url, so who knows.
---
"Asking me who to follow -- don't ask me, I don't know!"

I have to suffer with the Clairon L... (none / 0) (#14)
by Saint Zero on Tue May 02, 2000 at 03:45:55 PM EST

Saint Zero voted 0 on this story.

I have to suffer with the Clairon Liar here in town, I don't care if they start including centerfolds, I hate reading the dang thing.
---------- Patron Saint of Nothing, really.

Interesting story. I doubt it will ... (none / 0) (#15)
by Anonymous Zero on Tue May 02, 2000 at 03:46:00 PM EST

Anonymous Zero voted 1 on this story.

Interesting story. I doubt it will pay off for the newspaper testing this idea, but interesting idea nonetheless.

I think they've got the wrong idea.... (5.00 / 1) (#1)
by rusty on Tue May 02, 2000 at 03:56:35 PM EST

rusty voted 1 on this story.

I think they've got the wrong idea. The way for newspapers to remain valid is to make an asset of their next-day nature. They need to make it clear that they are not "on the edge" and instead can take a measured look at the news of the day, and report in greater depth and with more analysis than the lacquered heads on CNN or the scandal mongers on the web. I, 21st century digital boy that I am, read the Washington Post nearly every day, for just this reason. If a story is 24 hrs old, that doesn't mean that theren is nothing left to say about it. Newspapers should be fighting for the best writers they can get right now-- it's a crucial time for them, and if they play into the strengths of the 'net, they are doomed.

____
Not the real rusty

I am truly sick of wired. I am not ... (none / 0) (#7)
by your_desired_username on Tue May 02, 2000 at 04:05:04 PM EST

your_desired_username voted 0 on this story.

I am truly sick of wired. I am not going to read an article by them today.

The company that markets the tech is appearently www.zapcode.com, but I could not find any useful information there.

Desperate attempt to evolve the dyi... (none / 0) (#9)
by marlowe on Tue May 02, 2000 at 04:12:39 PM EST

marlowe voted -1 on this story.

Desperate attempt to evolve the dying medium. Rounding down from -0.5
-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --

The barcodes are almost definitely ... (5.00 / 1) (#4)
by raph on Tue May 02, 2000 at 04:44:04 PM EST

raph voted 1 on this story.

The barcodes are almost definitely a gimmick. Hyperlinks are useful when you're browsing online. A regular URL is good enough "for further reading." That's one reason it's important to make short, readable url's, as well as easy navigation and searching for finding something off the toplevel site.

What's far more interesting is whether the distributed, collaborative Internet model of doing things can serve as a replacement for traditional newsgathering. Almost every single newspaper article on technology is either flat out wrong, or just plain uninformative. I can't imagine that they do a much better job in other areas. The greatest transforming power of the Internet is that it can hook up people who know what they're doing to people who need to find out.

Free software is simply the most visible form of this type of collaboration, but the Internet isn't limited to that, nor is collaboration limited to the Internet (think of the traditional model of science, or of the process for compiling the Oxford English Dictionary).

Of course, by "Internet" I'm talking about the old skool stuff, not the spate of quick-buck dot-com's.

Unfortunately, you can pretty much ... (none / 0) (#13)
by Rasputin on Tue May 02, 2000 at 04:50:22 PM EST

Rasputin voted 0 on this story.

Unfortunately, you can pretty much bet on the death of print media in the next few years. "Those that don't remember the past can electronically alter it to avoid repeating it".
Even if you win the rat race, you're still a rat.

I think the idea of bar codes would... (none / 0) (#8)
by scorpion on Tue May 02, 2000 at 04:56:00 PM EST

scorpion voted 1 on this story.

I think the idea of bar codes would be great. Then you do not have to type in the URL's that you want to go to.

THat's an interesting thought... M... (4.00 / 1) (#10)
by Notromda on Tue May 02, 2000 at 05:20:17 PM EST

Notromda voted 1 on this story.

THat's an interesting thought... Most newspapers that I see are failing to see the change of times coming.

An interesting idea would be a way for a web pad to download a local type newspaper from a newspaper vending box... but this could also be done just as easily from the Internet, so it probably won't happen.

Seriously, though, all the newspapers need to worry about is content. I've seen too many newspaper stories that are just so.... boring. If a newspaper wants to survive, it needs to put the news out on the web, and it needs to hire *good* writers. News is news. That AI news reader (what was that called?) can deliver news, but it lacks style. Style is what's gonna keep the newspapers afloat.

Content and technology (none / 0) (#19)
by mattc on Tue May 02, 2000 at 09:34:09 PM EST

I agree, content is what newspapers need. The technology part is irrelevant. People didn't stop reading newspapers/magazines when the radio was invented, they didn't stop reading newspapers/magazines when the television was invented, and they haven't stopped reading newspapers/magazines because of the internet.

Why? Mainly the content. And because readers don't have to sit through commercials or crawl through banner ads to get to the story.

Of course there are exceptions -- my local paper is so full of lies and bias I think the only reason it sells at all is because of name recognition.

[ Parent ]

Well, I work for 100 JAMZ, a radio ... (none / 0) (#5)
by zotz on Tue May 02, 2000 at 05:50:20 PM EST

zotz voted 1 on this story.

Well, I work for 100 JAMZ, a radio station and ISP and a sister company - The Tribune a national newspaper here in the Bahamas.

I think the fate of newspapers in the internet age is interesting. I am trying to see the tribune online this year.

How will news be reported? Who will do investigative reporting? Will writers become more independant? Will editors?

Who will create the stories that show up on places like here and slashdot? How will it be funded?


zotz forever! ~~~the raggeded~~~

bslug.org

Dumb idea. Nobody's going to buy th... (none / 0) (#6)
by error 404 on Tue May 02, 2000 at 06:13:30 PM EST

error 404 voted -1 on this story.

Dumb idea. Nobody's going to buy the hardware. Who reads a newspaper at the computer? Other than me, and that's only because I'm the webmaster for a newspaper.
..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

Re: Newspapers in the Internet Age (none / 0) (#17)
by FlinkDelDinky on Tue May 02, 2000 at 07:20:48 PM EST

The article brings up some good points. TV 'news' is mostly car chases, stuff burning, celebrety advertising, and if they can swing it they'd like to combine them all into one story. Imagine the ratings if OJ's car were on fire!

Newspapers (since TV) have usually been considered more in depth on the current news, magazines have been in depth on current issues. Of course everyone's going more 'humanistic' in their stories to capture the female market.

I think with the new web pads comming out newspapers are in for a comeback. Just not exactly like we know them now. The photographs will be motion clips, the captions will be audio, they'll even be weblog type threads on the articles. But I'm not going to get a laser pen to scan url's. I don't see this as being anything different than the links on the PBS shows. I'm watching for the show, not the links.

Newspapers in the Internet Age | 19 comments (19 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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