Tuesday, September 18, 2007

As promised ...

As promised, I am adding the abstract of the paper I prepared for the Future of Newspapers conference.
Many of the presentations were interesting, however, unfortunately we were not allowed to post anything from them. When they appear in journalis, I will try to link them.

Newspapers seem to be telling their readers what they already know. They have either read it the day before on the internet or heard it on television. Sometimes, even Wikipedia is faster than the local reporters are. Can Slovene newspapers survive under such circumstances? Moreover, how? Views, not news, is an old phrase, nevertheless, it seems to reveal the one true advantage of the traditional newspapers: the well-researched and written articles and opinions about relevant topics that should be important to the readers. However, these analytical pieces should not only be available in the paper edition, but also online, and should not appear only in the newspaper's mother tongue, but also in English. A good example might be the German magazine Der Spiegel that celebrated its 60th birthday this year. Der Spiegel was the first magazine on the world with an online edition (in 1994). Ten years later, it launched its English website, which aims to provide English-speaking readers with a different, more German or European perspective on world events. The magazine, which was in the past famous for its investigative journalism and analytical articles, recently became also a European beacon of literary journalism. Literary journalism stories appear on the magazine's website, where they combine the advantages of the Web with those of the narrative. In the era in which many publishing houses in Slovenia compete for readers only by adding cheap DVDs or books to their newspapers, it would seem sensible for those newspapers, which still aspire to quality journalism, to follow Der Spiegel's model. Bloggers in Slovenia and elsewhere have already shown that they can also do what journalists are supposed to be doing: expose the wrongdoings and injustice. However, until their posts are picked up by news media, their efforts are usually limited to the blogger community. Well researched and well written articles that can attract a large number of readers, inspire them and make them care, are therefore in the domain of journalists. That is why readers still want and need newspapers.

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