Just published last Friday, Shirky’s “Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable” has already become a classic on the subject.
Round and round this goes, with the people committed to saving newspapers demanding to know “If the old model is broken, what will work in its place?” To which the answer is: Nothing. Nothing will work. There is no general model for newspapers to replace the one the internet just broke.
[In real revolutions] the old stuff gets broken faster than the new stuff is put in its place… Even the revolutionaries can’t predict what will happen.
Dave Riley ponders, well, if it’s still going to be the written word, then what really changes? Quite a lot, I think. Newspapers are centralized, all the news in one place on your doorstop in the morning. Seems an almost quaint concept now, doesn’t it? I get much of my news now from the 200+ RSS feeds in my Google Reader. Centralized newspapers can’t compete with that.
Shirky sees a multiplicity of experiments at news coming soon with the final destination as yet unknown. But it won’t be a newspaper.