Major newspapers like the New York Time and others have been struggling to figure out where they fit in today’s instant information society. The old paradigm of printing news and delivering it on dead trees to people’s doorsteps is melting away and the once-giants in the industry are paddling upstream to try to preserve it.
The recent addition of a paywall to the paper’s website is proof that the management behind this news behemoth just can’t seem to understand how the Internet functions. Many people, including myself, have stopped reading the NYT altogether and have barely missed it. The sad truth is that many (often better, more timely) news outlets are out there and publishing online.
Some reporters at the Big Paper outlets, though, do seem to get it. Recently, conflicts in places like Libya, disasters in Japan and Haiti, and others have shown that people with access to the Internet via their phones can do some amazing on-the-spot, real-time reporting.
The latest example is NYT reporter Brian Stelter, who was in Joplin, Missouri to witness the aftermath of a tornado touching down there. He did it via Twitter, since he had no access to the Internet or the voice call system on his phone. He did, however, have access to text messaging and used that to send messages to Twitter as well as post photos on his Tumblr account.
None of that happened officially through the NYT.
Of course, Twitter is no replacement for real news reporting, but this example shows that blogs, online-only news outlets, and more can produce reporting that rivals or even surpasses what is done at outlets like the NYT and their ilk.
Some old timers in the print industry have realized this and are moving away from on-the-spot news reporting and into commentary and other arenas where timeliness is no longer a factor. The NYT, however, seems to have missed that memo and continues to struggle along as a paper-based dinosaur that just won’t acknowledge its own extinction.