Innovation needed!

Newspaper vendor, Paddington, London, February...
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A couple of days back I posed the question how to respond to the increasing costs of journalism. My recourse to Lazarsfelds theory of the two-step flow of communication is of course highly problematic. Even in a two-step flow information originates somewhere. But with newspapers struggling to survive and eventually dying this source of high-quality information ceases to exist. So the main question is: How do we, as a compound of democratic systems safe the media?

Murdoch is answering by trying to create a »Closed Garden«, a system of information lock-in and paid content. While he seems to be successful for now I doubt this to be successful in the long run. That is if newspapers can not offer surplus value beside the news itself. I myself would not consider paying for online news and as it seems I am not the only one (and here). And since advertisement doesn’t seem to suffice the medias needs (especially with many internet users turning to tools like AdBlockPlus) innovations is indeed badly needed.

Innovation like this:

Vodpod videos no longer available.
(more about „Mag+„, posted with vodpod)

Similar to the legendary Apple iTablet this Mag+ titled device would bring a fresh breeze to the way we consume the news. As a study from researchers at PwC suggests, users are far more willingto pay for actual newspapers than for online news. With the haptic feedback and their ease of skimming they offer a richer experience than lame old computer screens. Along with some usability advantages over traditional newspaper the chic-factor speaks for Mag+’es approach.
A slightly different approach would be a digital newspaper based on flexible screens like this one

or Polymer Visions‚. With virtually no size limitations news corporations could create a newspaper that for the first time really merges the best of both worlds: intellectual appearance, the chic of tech-gadgets, the ease of traditional paper, multimedia news and an appealing interface. Add that to on-the-go-reading, space saving, reduced server costs and personalized ads and you have a killer newspaper that users would certainly pay for!

(Honestly, I’d be sold if I saw a paper like that!)

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