I just got my hands on the new version of the Wall Street Journal, which is one column inch smaller — seeing the physically shrunk paper is jarring — it’s tangible evidence that newspapers are slowly fading into history. Much as I wanted to assess the new design — and I’m sure there is real value in the new focus on analysis and perspective — I just couldn’t get past the smallness of it, so glaringly a shadow of its former self.
So much of old media is engaged in a thinly veiled effort to keep up appearances, because they can’t simply replace the old with the new. As Jeff Jarvis observed, in disagreeing with my prediction that a major print publication would move to web-only publishing this year:
It will come, but not yet, for there is still profit to be made in print and sluggish advertisers still arenâ€™t ready to support the new medium â€” even if thatâ€™s where their customers are â€” and shut-down costs remain high.
That I still receive the print edition of the WSJ is a farce — when I called to renew my subscription, I was told that it was actually cheaper to get both the print and online editions than the online edition alone — and then I suddenly started receiving the print edition at home as well! That kind of blind subsidization can’t last.
This post should prompt me to finally getting around to halting that waste of paper, even if it means paying more. Eventually, publishers will get around to it as well.