Long live the deadwood edition
Only if you were to believe Scoble, Dave, Don and countless others have to say on the matter. The problem is not as simple as it is put across, especially in a country like India, where the trends are quite opposite to what it is in the west. The same is the case with the the solution, it is not as simple as retooling and retraining journalists. The scope actually is much wider than having media set ups that are finding it hard to survive in an online world, a lot of the failings of traditional media is also seen in the online sphere too. Just being an online journalist does not automatically guarantee you any chance to survive.
Yes, print is in a lot of trouble, but that’s basically due to latency. By the time most of us get the newspaper in hand, we already know what has happened, mostly through television and you get near-instant feedback and analysis (often much better than what the talking heads spew on-screen) through blogs, memetrackers and other tools. That essentially leaves you with the hotseat in the toilet or the long commute as the only places where you would require print, neither of which are safe bets to base any business model on.
That said, even newfangled online operations are not any safer these days. Once upon a time, I used to follow El Reg, CNet, Infoworld and The Inquirer on a daily basis to get my fix of tech-related news, today I unsubscribed from all those in my RSS reader. The problem really is not that they don’t publish interesting things. The problem is that they publish late, often way too late and the days of publications by themselves driving a reader’s association with itself, than being led by context and topics, is now long gone. Be it print or be it online, the problem remains the same.
What aggregators like Techmeme, Google News and Topix have done is to aggregate content around topics that are dynamic. A New York Times website or a Washington Post website does not have a fluid navigation set up. It does not change in terms of what users are reading the most and just doing tags is not a way around it. The more I see things, the more I am convinced that eventually all websites will have a primary navigation that will be topic driven, with the regular inflexible and staid navigation pushed back as a legacy application or a fallback.