Wrong? Who Me?

October 21, 2011 at 7:00 am Leave a comment

Somewhere trees are breathing easier. They know the computer age has come to the point where it will finally reduce paper use and save some tree lives. As the newspaper business shrinks, the demand for paper will shrink, which besides more trees left standing, the stench of chain saws, lumber trucks and delivery trucks will dwindle down to a stinky few. The environment is the winner here – finally. I thought it would have been sooner though.

I’ve been wrong twice in my life. One day I was discussing the future of the photofinishing business with one of my employees. I told her that there would always be a demand for the (silver halide) photofinishing we did and while demand might decrease, there would be a hard core of hobby film users to rely on. Boy was I wrong. Silver halide photofinishing isn’t gone but may as well be. Prints from film today (if you can find film) are mostly done on inkjet or thermographic machines as is all digital printing. My kind of printing carried on fairly strong until 2002 when it just went poof overnight. I sold over $150,000.00 worth of machinery to a buyer in Africa for $400 and was glad to get it. Many people hung in and had to pay to have their equipment scrapped.

The other thing I was wrong about was the demise of the newspaper business. Unlike the photo business, it has hung on for much longer than I imagined but the panic in the business is evident. At home we’ve had as many as three calls in one day from the Toronto Star asking us to subscribe. I’m afraid Muffin was rather rude to the third caller. The panicky Star is hitching its wagon to the New York Times by including sections from that paper on weekends. I see stacks of Stars and Toronto Suns in donut stores and restaurants free for the taking. It sounds like the last gasp of hard copy news to me … unless I’m wrong again. Can I be wrong three times in life?

Internet publishing has really gelled lately. You can see a migration of newspaper columnists and writers to different websites like Msn and Huffington Post and many others. While the Toronto Star was proud to have a circulation of one million, Huffington Post Canada has five million visitors while on a worldwide basis Huffington draws a total of around twenty-seven million readers averaged on a monthly basis.

The advantage of web based news sites is when a story breaks, it’s available right away and often with colour photos and videos. This morning I clicked my computer on to see breaking news that Gadhafi had just been captured. I would have had to wait to read it at least a day later in newsprint.

The Internet via iPods and the like has seriously wounded the radio business by allowing people to listen to only the tunes they want without commercials or commentary. Record stores have been decimated by iTunes and the like because people can have instant access to the music they want and download it at cheaper rates than what bricks and mortar retailers were charging. I’m sure there won’t be an iNews service to finish off newspapers but there’s a plethora of sites out there constantly nipping away at them.

I think Internet news has reached a critical mass point and will become the default mode for people to catch the news and one site will eventually emerge as dominant. I know I’m right here but maybe I’m just a little early but I’m glad the trees are happy.


© David Jones/ Thunderbridge Productions 2011


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