Monday, September 13, 2010


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

'Frankenpapers' might turn out to be digital angels

by Dan Bloom

TAIPEI -- The tablet era is upon us, and with the news media (print as well as
digital) full of stories about how the iPad and other device readers
are going to replace print newspapers as news migrates to screens. Ken
Doctor, a media analyst in California, predicts that "by mid-2011, tens of
thousands of Americans will be tabletizing, as some ready themselves
to move to tablet reading
of news -- and newspapers -- and away from that old habit of print."

This impending migration of news
readers from print to screen,
from newsprint to pixels, will surely define a new era, and perhaps
even define the entire 21st Century.
Just for fun, I like to call these
new digital newspapers "frankenpapers" -- as a term of endearment.
They're going to be novel, and they're
going to change our reading habits. They might even change the way we read.

Frankenpapers, sleek and cool and trendy and convenient, as Apple and
Amazon and Rupert Murdoch say they
will be, might turn out to be our 21st Century angels, delivering us
from the slow pace of ''snailpapers'', those
things we used to call print newspapers.

To be sure, print newspapers are struggling, in all countries. And yes,
print advertising revenue has been decling for several
years worldwide. And of course, the Steven Jobs generation want their
news fast and
immediate, 24/7, screenable and mobile,
instantaneous and portable.

Frankenpapers will do the trick.

But at the same time, we need to be careful what we wish for. With no
agreed-upon national
consensus, on political, economic, cultural and religious issues,
delivered in the past by a team of unaffiliated and diverse print
newspapers and magazines, modern nations like the UK and the USA might
become deeply
divided republics of 500-plus news channels and screens. Where once it
was possible to have a national discussion delivered carefully and
judiciously by the plodding print media, the future might turn out to
be national shouting matches, digital free-for-alls. Some pundits
say we are already there.

I like reading the news on newsprint, picking the headlines I want to
dive into, turning the pages manually, clipping out articles I want
to read again later. I also like "thinking" -- at newsprint speed,
which means slowly -- about what I'm reading while I'm reading it.

And at the same time, I can't wait to sink my eyes into a digital newspaper
delivered at electronic speed to my iPad. So long live print and long
live frankenpapers.
By striking a balance, we have the best of both worlds.

The "tablet era" is here, with
tablets that are cool and sleek and shiny.

However, before we all migrate from newsprint to pixels, from paper to E
Ink, let's pause for a moment before we rush headlong
into the digital newspaper world. And then, after we pause, let's jump
in and get
our feet yet. A new news delivery system is calling.


Dan Bloom is a freelance writer in Taiwan