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Newspapering in the 21st Century

The Washington Post today launched Loudounextra.com.

My colleague Frank Ahrens wrote about it, quoting washingtonpost.com publisher Caroline Little, who called it part of the Post's online hyperlocal journalism. The site will be a combination of traditional and new-age news reporting, including blogging, video storytelling and extensive databases on community institutions such as schools and churches. LoudounExtra.com is a test run in these new waters - and if it's successful, the Post plans on using the model for other areas in the region. What if it's not successful?

"If Loudoun totally flops, I would not walk away from this based on that," Little said. "We need to try doing this in some different areas."

Here's why I even bother to tackle this subject today. Over the weekend, I read with interest a blog post by Jon Fine on BusinessWeek Online. In that entry, he asks the question: Which American Paper Will Be The First To Kill Its Print Edition? He then goes on to list the three camps on the way of thinking around this question. In the end, his prediction is that a major newspaper company will go all-digital in two years or less. No one here, myself included, has a crystal ball - but I can't imagine that newspapers are that close to selling the printing presses on eBay. Maybe I'm too close to the situation to be impartial. So I turn to you, the readers, for your thoughts. What do you think?

By Sam Diaz  |  July 16, 2007; 11:38 AM ET  | Category:  Sam Diaz
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Comments

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Our family receives the Sunday paper every week, which is something we look forward to reading once a week when we have time to relax with an actual physical newspaper. We like to read the headlines, summaries, deatils, and/or conclusions of the week's news, local politics, local human interest stories and culture, store insert adds, and most of all the comics. The rest of the week we get our news from the internet when we are busy and are in front our computer screens anyway. Getting the paper once a week also provides enough newspaper for other purposes such as covering the floor for painting or art projects, paper mache strips, lining the hamster cage, etc. Plus, I think that we do have a little concern in the back of our minds that the internet could fail one day due to overload from junk emails, hackers, incompetence, terrorists, or natural dissasters. So, we may want to keep the physical paper infrastructure alive just in case. So, I think the physical newspaper will not be going away anytime soon. Although, I think that actual physical circulation will slowly diminish over the next 30 years.

Posted by: HNakayama | July 17, 2007 11:19 AM

That maybe the trend there in the US but here in Cebu, Philippines,our paper Sun.Star Cebu just bought a brand new multi-million press. We still have a big offline market for newspapers here.

Posted by: Anol | July 18, 2007 2:09 AM

As a pressman for a Media news paper this is a major concern for myself. I have worked in the business for 30 plus years and still have 20 to go. I thought I would make another 20 but not now. Newspapers have been sliding slowely over the years as the older people pass on but now there seems to be a freefall in both advertising and circ. I have a lot of faith in the way Medianews runs their newspapers because they are always ahead of the game when it comes to cost cutting. My question is how will all the stores get out their inserts? I do not know the answer to this and at one time this was a job for life but now i just wonder what my next career will be.

Posted by: Medainews pressman | July 18, 2007 7:44 PM

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