Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian (where, full disclosure, I write and consult), testifies before a Lord’s committee on the future of news and says that digital requires an “act of faith” and that he is not optimistic about the future of local newspapers, and he says it as eloquently as usual:
“For at least ten years we are going to have to have an act of faith and pump money into digital markets without significant return… and we will do it with the expectation that things will change,” he told the committee.
He speculated that the newspaper industry could have an ‘Ipod moment’ where a devise is developed with the potential to consign printed newspapers to the history books.
Regardless of this, he added, the situation for local papers was more worrying than for national papers. . . .
“Because societies need news, web-based models will spring up, and are springing up in most countries including America, that are much more local and originate from citizens.
“They are really interesting things which may be more reflective of the communities than the local papers… I don’t think the printed local newspaper has an optimistic future.”