Saturday, January 17, 2009

Bob Cauthorn Did It

A shocking report just issued by the prestigious Journalism Society Review indicates that the collapse of the newspaper industry may have begun right here in Tucson. Local Data Port readers may remember the pride we pioneer StarNetters felt when the Arizona Daily Star first went on line; a journalistic 'first.'

Star reporter and computer guru Robert Cauthorn was hailed as the saviour of journalism for the digitalization of our daily paper. As much as techies loved the accomplishment some of us, this reporter included, were heard to mumble, "Who the hell wants to read a newspaper on a computer."

Pretty soon we all did, especially as we left heavyweight desktops behind for teeny cell phone screens and we could take our electronic papers to the outhouse with us.

Unfortunately we also left behind the idea that we ought to pay for our news. Right there the rot began; and it was all Bob Cauthorn's fault. 

1 comment:

x4mr said...

I recently read (or perhaps heard) a discussion of the impact of the online reality on hard copy newsprint, in this case as it related to the New York Times.

All is not lost, but yes there will be transformation. When radio came out, some thought newspapers would become obsolete. Then television had some believe radio would become obsolete. Now we have people thinking the Web will make TV, radio, etc., obsolete.

Instead of disappearing, the media transform into functions suited to their nature. Some newspapers may indeed fail or consolidate with others, but the printed newspaper is not going to disappear. Like radio as TV became ubiquitous, it will morph into something that people will use.