There seems to be more and more evidence that the online world is eating into the print world. Tim O’Reilly reported that the San Francisco Chronicle is under danger. Rafat Ali reported that InfoWorld is folding its print operations, and will focus on the online version more.
You can argue that these two instances are hardly substantive evidence. True! That would be reading too much. You will see more substance when you read influentials. Scoble always thought newspapers did not have future in print. Dave Winer has more drastic changes are required, like making journalism as elementary as Mathematics and History for everyone. And online writing as a critical part of journalism. Tim himself talks about creative destruction being caused by the online contributions, majority of which are blogs.
I find myself a little distant from the proclamation that the arrival of Publishing 2.0 is about the doom for paper. I like reading my newspaper in the morning while drinking tea without worrying about electricity or a Net connection. You see, a Net connection and a always available computer are still not part of basic necessities of everyone. I like to read leisure magazines while traveling, which would mean access to Wireless Internet connection in the online world. As much as I would like it to work as a software engineer, as a reader I would not like the paper world to disappear. It is simply more convenient and portable, lets me read news without asking me too many questions or giving too many options, which is really helpful in the early mornings. Maybe I cannot mine the news, but a lot of times I do not want to.
It is quite possible that the problem is somewhere else. Maybe the way news is delivered has to be changed. Maybe the newspaper has to embrace new media, and include the Internet in it. Maybe the readers should be allowed to go beyond reading and contribute.. Maybe the media, which rests so much on advertising, has to acknowledge the Web as a necessity and create online business models. But, as a reader, I sincerely hope that the newspapers do not disappear, just like I wish that the radio does not die in spite of the GBs of MP3s, iTunes or online albums.