Saturday, March 21, 2009

Why Newspapers Die - Our April iBreakfast: Google's Solution

OK here's a Big Timely One. Why are newspapers dying - and is there a way out?

Google thinks so and they are launching a new initiative to respond to this. Newspapers - stay tuned: we will be examining this in great detail at our April iBreakfast.

But in many ways the conversation is still about reconfiguring what's already out there - digital text with a few visual enhancements.


For those who know, I have been exploring the world of Graphic Novels (OK, Comics for Smartypants). There is a method to this madness......

Everyone knows that ComicCon is takng over the world.....or so it seems. Comics are the basis of most of Hollywood's blockbusters. Graphic Novels are the only growth area in publishing and they are all the rage in education (we even started a conference called Graphica in Education).

Why is this and what does it mean for Newspapers?
The short answer is that people - especially young people - are attuned to reading with both sides of the brain. Text favors only one side of the brain. Bringing pictures to the story acitvates the other. Adding deep archetypes (the comic superheroes) substantially enhances interest in the storylines. One reason why celbrity gossip with pics sells so well (substitue Madoff for Madonna and you bump up readership in the Wall Street Journal just as much).

What this means for Newpapers is that when you go digital you can't just do newspapers online and add a few pictures. People want to experience the news with more of "dual brained" balance. Stories have symbolic value and they have to be told via the language of symbols - or else your just beating a dying horse. What the net encourages is short, sweet, high impact and easy drill-down.

When movies began, they often filmed plays. Motion pictures oringinally showed skits and visual effects. When the narrative of drama was combined with filmed action we had a substantially new medium.

So that's why we started ViziPress, teamed up with sites like Empressr and a series of projects that will illustrate new ways to make digital media more readable.

In the meantime, stay tuned for our April iBreakfast and you will hear about the current issues and peek into the big ideas going forward..

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