Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Show Me The Next strips down online reading and discovery to their most basic components
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Nov. 5, 2008, 4:43 p.m.

The last great day for the American newspaper?

My friend Tommy Tomlinson — Charlotte Observer columnist and current Nieman Fellow here — writes an idea that’s been churning in my head today:

I wonder if today was the last great day of the American newspaper. Printed copies sold out everywhere and lots of places (including my home paper in Charlotte) had extra press runs this morning and sold bookoodles of papers on the street. I’m thinking the printed paper will never have another day like this one.

I tried to pick up a New York Times this morning here in Cambridge — six stops, no papers. (A decent number of Boston Globes, though.) Gawker hit on this earlier today; as one commenter put it: “Actually, everyone’s just in line to get the historic LAST historic first NYT cover – by 2012 all it will be is the one-sheet they hand out for free at the gym.” For the record, if you want a copy of today’s NYT, the number for the back copy department is 800-543-5380. Here’s a photo of people standing on line at Times HQ this morning to buy a copy of the paper.

I never thought I’d type that sentence.

Tommy has another point:

I also wonder if the future of the print newspaper business might be based on commemoratives. Most of the people who bought today’s paper bought it as a keepsake — something that doesn’t translate to the Web. So maybe some webcentric paper of the near future puts out a print edition only for special occasions — the hometown football team makes the Super Bowl, the NASCAR race comes to town, a new president gets elected, etc.

POSTED     Nov. 5, 2008, 4:43 p.m.
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Show Me The Next strips down online reading and discovery to their most basic components
“I think there is room for niche, monkish austerity.”
From Nieman Reports: Why news outlets are watching India’s next billion Internet users
“I can think of a billion reasons why it’s in the interests of news outlets to overcome barriers of language, literacy, and relatively low-end tech.”
Newsonomics: 10 headlines we may see this fall about the future of news
From pipes to platforms, overseas to over-the-top, the shifts we’ll see in the remainder of 2015 will set the stage for 2016 and beyond.
What to read next
2577
tweets
The New York Times built a Slack bot to help decide which stories to post to social media
The bot, named Blossom, helps predict how stories will do on social and also suggests which stories editors should promote.
1310Jo Ellen Green Kaiser: Do independent news outlets have a blind spot when it comes to ethnic media?
The head of the Media Consortium argues that, by defining themselves in opposition to mainstream media, independent progressive outlets miss out on the power of ethnic and community journalism.
1029Newsonomics: 10 numbers on The New York Times’ 1 million digital-subscriber milestone
Digital subscribers are proving to be the bedrock of the Times’ business model going forward. How much more room is there for growth — and at what price points?
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Fuego is our heat-seeking Twitter bot, tracking the links the future-of-journalism crowd is talking about most on Twitter.
Here are a few of the top links Fuego’s currently watching.   Get the full Fuego ➚
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
AOL
The Bay Citizen
Vox Media
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism
Google
Ann Arbor News
The Wall Street Journal
TBD
Newsday
Texas Tribune
The Seattle Times