While the Oklahoman works on rolling out NewsOK Beta, a smaller paper in the British Isles has gone for a simpler approach. The Buckinghamshire Advertiser, owned by group operator Trinity Mirror plc and selling 20,000 copies daily, has converted its Web site to a Movable Type blog, complete with RSS feeds and links for Digg, del.icio.us, and Reddit. Of course, all the traditional sections News, Columns, Sport, and such are rendered as MT Categories.
I’m sure it’s easier to use than any newspaper Web site software I’ve ever tried to use. And I’m sure it’s less complicated than whatever it is the [Peoria] Journal Star uses. Any small newspaper in America can put something like this together including paying someone to design their template for several hundred dollars, not to mention the cost of Web hosting, which might cost $100 a month for a dedicated server. It does as good a job as presenting the distributing news in words and pictures as any printing press, which costs much, much more to use. And it doesn’t require any trees be cut down, pulped and transported across the country in trucks or on trains.
And consider that if it costs that little for a newspaper to run, what’s stopping folks perhaps disgruntled newsies with some start-up capital perhaps from coming along and doing the same thing and not bothering with a print edition.
I’m not entirely convinced that print is doomed: you can’t line a birdcage with a Web site. Yet. And there are still people who have no particular interest in these here Intratubes. What’s more well, here’s how Eyebrows McGee tells it (previous link, scroll to comments):
This might come as a shock, but we actually DON’T NEED 24 hour news. There are few things short of tornadoes I need to know about RIGHT THIS INSTANT, and they have sirens for that. (And shock of shocks they actually still break into broadcast network television for things that are REALLY important.) And there are a lot of people my age who are opting out of cable TV and 24-hour connectedness in favor of choosing our times and places to get data. The wired generation knows better than the Boomers how empty and repetitive 24-hour data streams can be, because we’ve never lived in a world without them. I was TWO when CNN joined the world. I do not remember a time before 24-hour news and I have never attended a school without a computer lab.
Small wonder, then, that I prefer my news in a single discreet chomp, well-written by competent journalists and analyzed by people who follow a story for years and know its ins and outs. I’ve been surrounded by the vapidity of instant-streaming news since I was an infant. I prefer something a little more substantial and a little less torrential.
By coincidence, the Oklahoman sent me a renewal form today for my print subscription.