It’s no secret that most major newspapers in the US are losing money.
While some will disappear altogether, a few are shutting down their print version and trying to figure out how to build a profitable business on the web.
With that as a background, the excellent NPR program On The Media has a segment this week about a new dead-tree publication called The Printed Blog that will use material drawn from blogs, flickr and other content sites.
The first editions will target three neighborhoods in Chicago and one in San Francisco with plans to expand to New York soon. The founders hope that a combination of “hyperlocal” content with very cheap advertising (and a price tag of free) will be a financial winner.
After introducing the concept, the interviewer went on to ask the exact question I was thinking.
Now, I can see how this is in many ways just another form of aggregation, like the Drudge Report or Fark or even Google News only in printed form. But isn’t it also kind of the worst of both worlds? You’ve got blog content minus the immediacy minus commentability minus correctability, all distributed the slow and expensive old-fashioned way at high cost.
Certainly there is some valuable writing being produced by bloggers (not necessarily this one) and I’m not one of those who believes the printed newspaper is going to totally disappear.
However, I doubt that repurposing content that was intended to be interactive with a medium that is far from it will help newsprint survive.