The Future of Media

On some level, I’m sure this is a joke, but still:

Ben Bradlee appealed to the audience to maintain faith in newspapers. He’s not high on computers and blogs — mostly because it’s too uncomfortable to drag the computer to the john. He said “the newspaper and magazine work best in the bathroom.”

I suppose I agree with that. On the other hand, I imagine that sometime in the future a device will be invented that is convenient to bring into the bathroom and that also gets the internet. Similarly, someone yesterday cited to me “you can bring it on the train” as a reason for preferring print to web. This, to my view, is an extremely compelling consideration. It’s still the case that there are places where you can’t get wireless broadband. On the other hand, every six months there are fewer and fewer such places. The literal newspaper — the newsprint with the ink on it — is clearly doomed. The question is whether specific newspaper-producing institutions like The Washington Post can provide their readers with enough additional value to maintain audiences without the benefit of the country being organized into a series of segmented local monopolies.