Tuesday, June 16, 2009

News you can use tomorrow

If you want to peak into the future of newspapers and the newspaper business, check out an article in Monday's Denver Post about a MediaNews project called I-News.

Colleen O'Connor seems at first to be writing a "must-report" story on the front page of the Business section for her employer, the Post and MediaNews Group, Dean Singleton's newspaper publishing company that owns the Post and many other newspapers, shoppers and weeklies across the nation.

But the project is indeed news.

MediaNews is testing a new method of delivering news to consumers at home and in hotels that truly gives a glimpse of what newsgathering is moving toward. It won't be for free, as your own gathering can do now across many websites on the Internet, but it will be a product of your own choosing, delivered to the screen of your choice as well: cell phone, fax, mobile device, Internet reader (Kindle), desktop or laptop computer, or your hotel door as a batch of loose papers collected for you by the desk and dumped there, like a newspaper, after you have "subscribed" at the hotel's expense to the news you want delivered.

Maybe Dean can be forgiven for selling off the bottom of his Sunday front page of the Post to Target if the ad revenue the sales produce buys him a jump start on the newspaper of the future. Newspapers have to reach that future faster than they have ever been forced to before.

Traditionally, the future has not been a newspaper's familiar territory, and certainly not a profitable one. But MediaNews may have linked to a little corner of the next 100 years of publishing. Their experiment will be fun to watch.

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