Newspaper of the future

The Southern Newspaper Publishers Association is seeking the best and the brightest takes on what “newspapers” will look like in 10 years. The SNPA is looking for “revolutionary inventions that connect and engage readers by redefining how news is presented.”poster

Anyone can enter. The cash prize for the winning entry is $2,000. Deadline for entries is September 15, 2007.

As the contest rules advise, money isn’t a consideration, nor is technology only currently available. The newspaper of 2017 could be distributed on electronic paper. The SNPA is looking for innovative ideas, not business plans. The contest is seeking to push newspapers to imagine new concepts and propel them into stimulating debates.

Here’s how we will play: With your posts, let’s crowdsource a 2017 news publication. Let’s build on each other’s ideas and comments. If we are coherent enough, I will pull together a submission and send it in. If we aren’t, it will have been a useful exercise, forcing us as it will to consider the limitations of contemporary media and news publications, and to contemplate where technologies (Wimax, mobile Web, etc.) are taking us. First one to wade into the idea pool gets a Peppermint Patty.

complete contest information

(What happens if we win? We’ll split the money!)

48 Responses to Newspaper of the future

  1. I’ll start the brainstorming.

    I believe news in the future will be mobile, portable, always on, socially networked, hyperlocal (though defining locality doesn’t necessarily mean geographical designations), rich in media, transparent, user-controlled and –determined, participative and collaborative, datamapped, credible, entertaining and delivered in a really cool device (a la the iPhone).

    Now how to translate all of these vague descriptions into a piece of hardware or software?

  2. Karen says:

    A couple of thoughts:

    Related to the “participative and collaborative” idea, I think there will definitely be more photos coming directly from users/readers. Perhaps they will be routed through an editor whose job is to filter incoming content from users/readers, and then select what is applicable and send it right back “out” as content.

    Related to the “user-controlled and -determined” idea: Hear me out on this…but I imagine a small, portable device that syncs with a large, not-so-portable device. People can travel and get the headlines (and stories if they wish) while roaming about, but can flag the stories they’d like to read about in more detail later. Upon arrival at home, they’d sync that to the large device and get a large page with a full article (and any large graphics/photos) for ease of viewing/reading.

  3. tom says:

    I like where Karen is going with the small “fishing” device– that’s very much along the lines of what I had tried to post yesterday, but I guess I rambled and the blog timed out. The pitch I was throwing had to do with a refined version of the recent device that can scan symbols on paper and playback audio- I think that there will be a TiVo-esque device for written media that could then playback a podcast (video or audio or image reel) of the scanned stories…

  4. Ryan Tuck says:

    User customization will be key. I don’t agree with all its predictions but watch the Poynter Epic video for a take on what Amazon-like preference-based consumption could do to news reader habits. If they can’t do it with us, someone else will allow them a completely customizable and personal experience.

    We have to be ahead of the curve, because readers today want to interact with their news; to be in control – they won’t stand for passivity.

    And you all are dead on about consumer input: This will be KEY in newspapers of the future. Again, people want to interact with their news; they want to feel a part of the process, whether that’s through filtering the content for their own use or in contributing their own content. We have to play up these usability functions to compete in this new landscape.

    With that in mind, navigability and usability will be as important as ever. I think we need to play with the site-host model, someone(s) who is(are) leading readers through online content and giving recommendations and places to talk back. We have to exploit this same concept in terms of trusted users.

    In short, the Web is a huge place – an infinite vacuum where people can find ANYTHING they want and where it is easier to consume massive amounts of information in record time. To truly compete in this emerging playground, we have to give our readers a place to participate and a place to buy in directly.

    Those are just some beginning thoughts – I look forward to hasing this out more with you all.


  5. Chad says:

    In my opinion, the newspaper of the future will be a “news experience”, rather than a publication. Technology will make it possible to engage all senses (sight, sound, smell, taste, touch). The newspaper of 2017 will take advantage of this to provide that “news experience”.

    I agree with the above comments that user interaction and customization will be critical. “The customer is king” and he/she wants to decide what information is received, in what format and when. This customization could be used to target new audiences.

    Additionally, the user needs to find information quickly and avoid information overload. I believe that this will be achieved through a personalized filter.

    User input, as already described above (in the form of pictures, stories, etc.) will improve objectivity. A centralized databank that would make all stories from all sources available, could also improve impartiality. International perspectives on world events would become easily accessible. Small organizations and freelancers would likely be more competitive because customers would receive individual stories matching their filter criteria; not publications of large organizations. A centralized databank could also improve the timeliness of reports because users no longer wait on a publication.

    Yes, timeliness is key… so I still don’t get a Peppermint Patty!

  6. Ryan Tuck says:

    You are right about the news of the future being a multi-sensory experience. It has to be. That’s what people want and what news organizations are already doing for half the senses (sight, sound). We’ll just need to do more.

    And you’re right that independent content providers are becoming (and will continue to be) more competitive because of changes in news customization. That’s why it’s so key that we empower our readers to use us based on their preferences. We have to involve them, thus endearing them to us. We have to give them the news they way the way they want it – through RSS, e-mail alerts, preferences, mobile downloads.

    We have to open ourselves up to them – the best way to keep someone on your team is to involve them, right?

  7. Lecia says:

    Yes, navigability and usability are key. All of the elements that are key now, will be key in 2017. However, without a printed document, the portal or device with which the information is received will be even more important. My first thought is that people of every socioeconomic background deserve the news without the high cost of technology. In other words, how many people do you know can run right out and pay $500 +/- to buy a device? For a family of 3, mom, dad and junior, that would be over $1500. To make the cost of news of the future easier to swallow, my suggestion would be public portals. There could be interactive stationary devices for public consumption on the subway, on the bus, in the back of cabs, on the Staten Island Ferry, etc. Still, there is the problem of the elderly, the blind, and people who are simply illiterate. Therefore, the portal or stationary device would have to incorporate a “listen only” option. Now, who is going to pay for this free service to the public? Advertisers, of course. I really like Chad’s idea of a “news experience.” The public portal provides an experience and enhances the news for all socioeconomic backgrounds. One more thing, since the USA seems to be the melting pot of the world, with the touch of a button, one should be able to get the news in the language of their choice.

  8. Kat says:

    I like where everyone has gone so far and I can see positive happenings out of all of them. The public would most likely have more input into the news to get more of what they want. I think they might make this universal system that is portable like an iPhone where people can go around and if they see something they think would be useful for people to know, they could easily take pictures on the device, and start writing the “story”. It would be much like Wikipedia with tons of users being able to put in there own information for the greater public to look up. This of course would have its downfalls of people making things up, but that happens even now still with more controlled media.

    I also like the idea made by Lecia above me. The idea that a free service funded by advertisements located in random places for those who cannot afford the personal devices, is awesome. I can so see that happening, especially since Marta already has TVs set up on their cars where you can change the channel as you wish as a rider.

    My thoughts were not too much original, but that is mainly because all these amazing, smart people had such great ideas better explaining what I basically thought.

  9. Tony Tham says:

    I have read all the comments so far and thought they all had great ideas on what the news be brought to us in the future. I myself believe that technology can only go foreward and and with everything being in one digital form or another, the news will certainly be important to us. News should be a a free source on information for anyone that want to learn what is going around them, so I agree with the concept that Lecia proposed, but I think the people will get more out it if there were less ads and more information.

    My ideas on how news will be brought to us is going on the path where the iphone has taken us. This unique device has gone beyond any other U.S. phone and see that I only say U.S. device because that technology is a bit dated to the Japanese technology. There technology are more advanced than the U.S. We only got a glimpse of what technology can do.

    More and more devices will be created in handheld sets where one can just read the news pretty much on there wrist like a watch. These devices will need to be affordable for all and compatible with any network. There may be some ups and downs but that is life. Another idea would be that news can be broadcasted on the windshields of cars if people want to see news without leaving the car.

    So, that is what I have for now, many before me have so many great plans and ideas and it is interesting to see what the future holds.

  10. bc says:

    I like what I’m seeing on the posts: Mobile, customized and subsidized. The cellcos have shown us you can basically give the device away and make your mint on subscriptions and services. Our model could be similar.

    I’m thinking of a Nokia handset-like device that could even be worn on the wrist, with a super flat color LCD-like screen for displaying video, games, maps and multimedia.

    Borrowing from iPhone technology, it could be touch screen so we don’t need stylus thingys or any other device or accessory.

    It could play music, deliver GPS navigation, read RFID, power on WiMax or WiFi or cell, take photos/videos/sound, and share photos/video/sound, all in hidef.

    Picking up on Chad’s descrip, it would deliver an experience. It could download, of course, but it sideloads, as well (getting content from computers).

    And, here’s the really essential part, it’s hyper-hyperlocal. The first hyper for “really local,” and the second for hyperlinked. With GPS and RFID, this device will always recognize where you are, like a magnet pulling in information about your surroundings — a map, real-time weather information, dining recommendations if you need them, entertainment options, people playing your MMORPG in the immediate area if you wanted to log on and play some, friends chatting or IMing at that moment, and of course news specific down to your street, likely a blend of distributed or networked journalism and “professional” journalism (“the future is pro-am”).

    RSS feeds of your FaceBook, music favorites, news, sports scores, wall street ticker, Twitter updates, to name a few, all pulled in by the wristband (or, for the ladies, a really slick handheld).

    I’m starting to dig it.

  11. Celia S says:

    Concerning the idea of public news access portals proposed by Lecia.

    While the idea of public news portals is not a bad one, I do not believe that people are patient enough for such a thing to work. There are two reasons I have for making such a statement: personalization and accessibility.

    In order for people to be able to actively seek the news they want, each user of the public news portal would have to change the settings so that the news THEY were interested in would be displayed. I’m sure some type of search engine software could help aid them in this to a great extent, but it would be tiresome to have to input all the information you wanted news for every time you went to a portal.

    In this age, the “Information Age,” people want their news NOW. Public news portals would not guarantee instant access to news because they would be limited in number as well as “tied down”. For example, someone wanting to catch up on the latest news during rush hour would undoubtedly find public news portals being used by others. Public news portals would also have location issues. In order to use one, you would have to go to it. The prospect of being forced to physically travel in order to be able to access news seems less likely than some sort of portable news device.

  12. Caitie Jones says:

    I love the idea of public news portals proposed by Lecia, and I recognize the pitfalls to this pointed out by Celia. As a solution, perhaps people could have a device that stored their personal settings and news preferences–something like a flash drive–that they could plug into portals for more user-friendly and efficient experience.

    As to the concept of a wikipedia-esque format, I’m not so sure. There would have to be editors set aside specifically for fact-checking these stories because inaccuracies and fabricated stories are almost guaranteed.

    My favorite ide ws of the ability to flag stories you are interested in learning more about. Better to give people too much information than too little and let them sort it out for themselves. It allows the reader to be truly involved int he process without compromising the credibility of the news. Besides, if you give people complete control of the content they have access to, it is highly likely that many will miss stories that truly affect their lives. If preprogramed preference are what the media is bsed on, then people likely won’t hear stories about war, condidtions in foreign countries, and so forth which could prove very important for their knowledge as a human being. By giving them everything and letting them sort it out, you also give them the chance to dig through nd be captured by stories that they might normally have skipped over. This would enhance the power and importance of headlines, making them more pivotal than ever.

  13. Martha W says:

    It seems at this point, all the ideas are really coming together quite well, with each new idea taking shape from the previous; it’s a real snowball effect.

    To continue the pattern, I elaborate on Catie’s idea about personal settings as a way to make this newspaper more user-friendly without losing the a ttention of readers. The personal settings would act much like Direct TV settings where users can customize their tv’s to broadcast channels they only want to watch. So you see, the personalized news device would allow users to read or listen to news channels only they would be interested in, whether that be local news, international, business, or whatever news someone is interested in. Also, I agree with Celia, this new device would need to be updated regularly keeping it fresh and immediately at hand, so the watch would be a step in the right direction.

    However with the watch idea, the only concern with that is how bulky would it be? We would have to consider sophistication and versality. Maybe the iphone or something similar would be a better option at the risk of being too expensive for the average american?

  14. Amanda P. says:

    I’m where everyone else is: whatever the newspaper of 2017 is going to be, it’s going to have to be portable, flat, convenient and freaking sweet.

    I think that this future newspaper will have subscriptions. Just like we have subscriptions to newspapers (actual print or online. We all get the NY Times headlines in our e-mail, no?), and I think the future will be no different. I’m envisioning something iphone-ish and touch-screen as well. But, for those who aren’t getting the news everyday (for whatever reason- ex. low income) there should be disposable iphone-ish newspapers. I don’t really see how a daily disposable paper could work, it seems like the technology would be too expensive. But, just like a subway card or marta card works- you could buy a cheaper, less expensive device that would be good for X number of uses. Perhaps you could even pick the day you wanted to get the news, but the device would expire after X number of days or X number of uses. It’s like a camera- you could get a disposable one or you could get an expensive, all stops pulled out camera that will last forever. There would be less room for preferences and user-guided news with the basic device, but obviously you could get a more sophisticated, more user guided devices… it’s just a matter of what you want to pay. And they could be on every street corner or coffee shop… just like newspapers now. And if you have a daily subscription, you don’t go buy a new device, you have it sent straight to the super nice one you already have…

    That’s all I have now. Hope it made sense.

  15. Dustin M says:

    Everyone has some really great ideas about the future of news and how it is made availbale to audiences.

    I agree that news will be hyper-local. Technology also will make it possible for limitless publications that will make news available to increasingly specific audiences.

    I believe that the news will resemble TV news more and more. I think that if most people had the option, they would rather have the news read to them in short, 30 second segments. Just tell them what happend as concisely as possible and they’ll be happy.

    I am also a little bit unsure of the audience contribution concept. I believe that it will become more popular. Some news networks like CNN already have a way for people to send in news stories or photos. I think that this will greatly hurt the reliability and accuracy of news. Anyone will be able to post a news story, will they be help accountable for what they report?

  16. Meghan F says:

    I really like how mobile this device is for getting the news. I agree with Martha, that the watch seems like it would have to be huge in order to actually use it.

    I also like the idea of being “hyper-hyper mobile.”
    Having a GPS that shows everything that is happening in people’s exact surroundings would be key. I also agree with Catie that its better to give people all the information and let them sort it out for themselves so that they dont miss pertinent news that could affect them as a person. However, I think that more people are concerned with whats happening to them right then and there… what decisions they make about how they are going to go about their day. So obviously news like wars going on that will effect the economy and their life is important information they shouldn’t overlook and it does affect them in the long run, it doesn’t change the fact that getting an update on the traffic will determine the decisions they make that effect them right there in that situation.

    My concern with this new portable device is how expensive will it be? With all these added features such as GPS, taking photos/video/sound, power on WiMax or cell, music etc. its going to be a hit but who would be able to afford them? Would only the people with this new device have access to updated news while everyone else has to resort to the dying print newspapers?

  17. bc says:

    I like the idea of blending control on the part of the user in setting preferences, determining at least at some level what kind of news, information and entertainment the person wants automatically delivered, with a “smart” technology that intuits what the person might want based on that person’s behavior and consumption. Martha mentioned DirecTV, and I’m thinking of how TiVo and Google do this, using the wisdom of the crowds to make ever-smarter recommendations.

  18. Charles Bryans says:

    The idea of an i-phone type device that delivers the news in brief with the ability for a user to download the full articles once they get home sounds good. I have two comments however.
    First, about the portals, it seems that existing cell phone satellites etc. can do an effective job already at delivering content in the same way that IM’s are already delivered to phones in almost all locations. Since someone will have to be gathering the news a person gets and someone will have to be paying for that news to be gathered, the person need only give that company (NYT for example) their “i-phone’s” number and the news can be sent to them at any interval they select.
    My second comment ties into the companies mentioned previously. My worry is who will be paying for the news gathering? I would assume that already existing companies could continue to gather news and simply send it out to subscribers (devoid of ads) or to anyone (with ads). But as for the hyperlocal news, as another article on BC’s blog discusses, it is difficult to make hyperlocal news financially viable, so who will handle it? I guess existing sites such as could provide hyperlocal news but successful sites are only in select communities and provide a limited amount of news.
    I guess that local papers such as Rome News Tribune etc. could move into hyperlocal news given the fact that most people will probably turn to larger papers for their international/national news on their i-phone leaving the only special thing about Rome News Tribune its local coverage but I find it hard to imagine a company as big and expensive to run as the Rome News Tribune being able to turn a profit doing this.
    I think the idea of user provided “wiki-style” news is unrealistic because it would probably just turn into a wild forum unless someone moderates it and then you are back with the problem of who is paying for the moderation.

  19. Philip Bryans says:

    I agree with those who think the news of the future will be in digital format and received directly through some sort of personal electronic device such as an i-phone. This allows the user to receive it whenever he or she pleases, and due to it’s format, read it just about anywhere without having to worry about handling a bulky newspaper.
    I believe the key feature of this would be user customization. The user can customize what to receive and when. The customers would get news they care about and want, when the want. While this is already a reality in some ways, with e-mail news and other devices, I think the two things keeping it from being mainstream, however, are the lack of available (affordable) technology and the lasting reliance on paper newspapers.
    I do not believe, however, that print newspapers will be a thing of the past by 2017, as they are a firmly entrenched and loved (by some) news medium. The question is, how will newspaper companies adapt to the change. As mentioned by Charles, I foresee major papers having quite an advantage at the onset of this age, while local papers are going to have to transition to purely hyperlocal coverage. I imagine one of the primary reasons most buy their local paper is that others (Such as NYT, etc.) are not as readily available. Once they are, then local papers will have a time competing.
    The cost of such a system is also going to be an issue. I foresee news conglomerations forming much like phone/cell phone companies who require a fee to sign up with but boast news available from big name papers they have bought along with local news. Perhaps, newspapers will team up in these said groups and begin sharing all their news on a live wire like the AP wire for their conglomerate to push to it’s subscribers who want it. And then the competitiveness will be between huge groups rather than individual papers allowing smaller ones to survive.

  20. Leslie H. says:

    When I thought about the newspaper of the future, I envisioned a “Times Square” type scenario in cities across the nation.
    By this I mean we will be constantly and completely inundated by news, images, sights and sounds everywhere we go.
    Guess what else? It would also be free! I think if we can use internet news as an example for a min., we see that very few consumers are willing to pay for an online subscription to a news website anymore. I think that if we follow this trend, that by 1017, 10 years from now, news would be able to be free for really everyone, b/c no one will be willing to pay for it anymore. I believe, however, that it will be driven with ads, as Lecia pointed out.
    Think about the devices that we have now that deliver this to us in this manner. Ever stand in line at Walmart and watch TV? How about at the gas pump of K-Mart or similar places? They are giving us local, community events, weather, and of course, their special on a 6-pack of coke.
    Take this idea and put it on a huge level. Big screens on buildings, ATM’s-everywhere!
    I think the handheld idea is one that will happen, but will be changing already by 1017. I think it will be one more step towards this type of news.

  21. Leslie H. says:

    Okay, I also want to address content.
    There may be some that won’t agree with this, but let’s just see what everyone thinks and where this goes.
    So, who decides the content?
    Most of you seem to agree that the user will be driving the content.
    But what if that’s not true?
    What if it is where you are getting your news that decides what you see?
    Okay, for instance, following my “Times Square” idea, you would visit your local ATM machine. There is a screen there that delivers your financial news. Obviously, this bank assumes that someone who has money at least has some interest in money news. Going back to K-Mart, they would serve possibly local headlines that they believe K-Mart shoppers would be interested in. So, the retailers or businesses do market studies, just like they do for ads, and funnel that info into what they cover for people.
    Some drawbacks?
    First, this requires people to be somewhere specific to receive news. What if I am in the car? Do I have a “device” there to give me news? So maybe there is a portable device as well as on-the-spot news around town.
    Next I automatically think about how dangerous it is for us to allow someone to tell us what is news to us based off numbers and demographics. As people, we are so much more than that. But isn’t this happening already?
    TV news specifically caters to their particular viewers, don’t they? How do they know who their viewers are? First, viewer feedback. Second, numbers, graphs and demographics-marketing!
    I would love to hear some thoughts on this. Maybe this idea is totally off base. Maybe right on. Or, somewhere in between.

  22. Alex F. says:

    I believe the newspaper of 2017 will not be a paper at all. The way technology is booming we will continue to further the idea of personalization. News will be put on a personal electronic device in the same genre as the Iphone or personal computer. News will constantly be updated much like the Internet but even more so. People will have a direct connection to any news in the world at any time. Furthermore, I believe that individuals will be able to personalize their own news by saying what is news in their eyes. The news that is most important to a certain individual will be what is broadcast on their device. Also with the explosion of blogging people will be able to constantly update news stories. Witnesses to news will be able to give their own opinions on the news that has taken place before their own eyes.

  23. Ellen D. says:

    I also like the way everyone is thinking about having some sort of portable device similar to the iphone. It’s conveinent and user friendly which will encourage use.

    As Amanda mentioned, my primary thoughts about the newspaper of the future were that it will go to an online format requiring subscriptions to access complete information, much like the New York Times currently does. Headlines will be on the opening page as well as a brief summary of the article. Similar to CNN’s website, there will be links to live broadcasts on every page so that breaking news can be viewed and presented instantaneously. Articles can be longer as there will be no physical restrictions. Articles and/or entire publications will be downloadable and printable. Also like the New York Times online, all articles will have certain words linked to further information about the topic/individual. Archives of old issues will be available to subscribers as well as live audio of any pertinent press conferences of the time. All of this could be accessed using a portable device as was earlier suggested.

  24. Leah R. says:

    I immediately thought about the iphone as the prime means for “news of the future.” News will always be in the palm of our hand coming from a device that lets us read, watch and hear accurate and timely news.

    I agree that news will become selective to the reader even more so than today because the viewer can simply set the device to only show stories of topics that interest them.

    In regard to price, I think people will depend on this “all-in-one” device so much that the old fashioned computer and television will no longer be needed. As Leslie H. said, big public televisions will be available for those who can’t afford a portable device, but I believe most of America will find a way to afford one. Take the ipod for example-I don’t know many people who don’t have one and all it really does is play music. The demand for portable news will be even higher and therefore most working class Americans will have one. I forsee companies making this device part of the company phone plan. Just as Blackberries have taken over the workforce today, this device will in 2017.

    There is no way to stop this technological advancement from happening and therefore we will all find a way to be part of it.

  25. Jessie E says:

    I like the idea that news will come on a portable, personal device, but how big would it have to be? People have been suggesting a device like the iPhone, which is not very big. I don’t think I would find this at all conducive to reading the news. Stories would have to be much shorter because I won’t want to scroll and scroll and scroll to read a long story. On the commercials, when they show someone using the Internet on the iPhone, it looks inconvenient and annoying to have to scroll left and right, up and down to see the whole page. Also, I’m assuming there will still be ads coming from the news providers, which will take up more room and make the stories even harder to read. Maybe a device bigger than the iPhone would be in order?

    Maybe something along the lines of the Nintendo DS, where there are two screens, so one screen could be used for ads and/or menus, and the other for the story.

    Of course, I’ve never seen an iPhone in real life, so I’m only going off how it looks in the commercials. Either way, it comes down to the fact that the portable device will have to be small or people won’t want it, and, it seems to me, stories will just get shorter and shorter to accomodate people’s short attention spans and the device.

  26. Britta says:

    I’m in the public portal camp, because I don’t think we will solve the problem of the digital divide in ten years. In fact, I think it will get worse.

    The public portal I’m imagining is a hologram projection, not even a piece of hardware you walk up to. I think the newspaper of the future will be pushy, invading our lives and competing for our attention not just with other news and information sources, but with our time as a whole. I’m thinking really of a sort of Muzak concept, where news and information are piped into the public spaces we use every day: food features in the grocery store, fitness news in the gym, world affairs at the Starbucks.
    The newspaper of the future will not only have a lot of user and reader content, but it will also have fewer full-time staff people and more freelance voices. It will have a more conversational and casual tone for all but the hardest news stories. Humor will be used, and so will visual storytelling borrowed from graphic novels.
    The newspaper of the future will be fully bilingual, with all content and ads presented in both English and Spanish.

  27. Whitney K. says:

    The idea of a portable news devise is exciting and will surely show up in the next 10 years as a must-have gadget for the professional. However, like so many people have pointed out, there are lots of concerns with a device like this.
    The money issue presents a hinderance to the whole idea. News is free, accessable to everyone who wants it today. With a device like this, news would become a commodity. As a commodity, there would be people who would miss out on important issues that need to be heard. Even with free access today, most average Americans do not know near as much about current world issues as they should. With a high tech, high price product, it seems that the average American would miss out on this media transformation
    I guess the concern is that while the portable news device is wonderful for upperclass professionals, how pratical would it be for other demographics? What about the millions of people who work in a factory till 5:00 and come home to the same routine everyday. Will they be attracted to a device like this? Also, what about children? They should be exposed and interested in news as well, but the likelyhood that a family will buy a separate portable news device for each member is slim to none. Perhaps the development of this portable news technology would have to be like the cell phone. A giant ugly luxury at first that turns into a household staple that even children own.
    I think until then, there will still have to be news sources that remain free to the public. Perhaps news will look like a portable interactive profile that is constantly gathering information, but this transition will most likely be gradual and slow, maybe we’ll just see the beginning of it in 2017

  28. Nicole W. says:

    To further many of the great ideas that have already been mentioned, I will add my thoughts. I concur with the idea that the “newspaper of 2017” will not be in paper publishing, but in some sort of technology similar to the iphone or even the ipod. My suggestion which is similar to some of ideas mentioned is that the subscription part of it would be delivered to your protable device like a text message. So every morning or afternoon whenever the headlines are available your “device” would give you a screen telling you the news is available. Thus, using the satellite devices already popular in society. This was just my idea of how to receive your news. As far as the Directv idea mentioned, I agree it would have to be something similar just because people will want access to any and all the news at any time of the day.
    I imagine people walking around listening to the news more than reading it also. So I also feel like there will be even more audio and video available to the media. Just like cellphones now that have the capabilities to listen to music the newspaper of the future will be a conglomeration of the popular technologies now just improved and more easily accessible.

  29. Anne F says:

    Wow there is such a great deal of information already discussed that I feel as if any of my ideas will not compare to the aforementioned ideas.

    I do have some thoughts…

    I understand where Whitney is going with the issue of a portable news device being practical only for those with a higher income since it would be too costly for lower and maybe even middle class citizens. The thing to remember, however, is that we are talking about the year of 2017. In ten years from now, I believe technology will have made some incredible steps allowing items such as iPods or iPhones to be available to virtually anyone. Consider the cell phone… I remember when my mom had one of those HUGE car phones that took up the entire console “for emergency use only.” That was not too long ago, and now look at how far cell phones have come. My cousin is 13 and he has a cell phone (I have no idea why), but my point is that even in the past 20 years, the cell phone has become more readily available for most citizens. All of this to say, I think by 2017, we will see the “average kid” carrying around a device similar to an iPhone.

    When I think of a device I would want to use ten years from now to access news – money and modern technology aside – I can picture myself carrying around a device similar to the iPhone or a Blackberry (probably smaller), designed specifically to provide me with updated news -local, national, and international- and as BC said… “provide music, GPS navigation, read RFID, power on WiMax or WiFi or cell, take photos/videos/sound, and share photos/video/sound, all in hidef.” Of course the creation of a device of this sort is beyond me, but the least I can do is imagine something up!

    The watch idea sounds really cool, but I agree with Martha in that it could possibly be either too big and bulky or on the flip side, be too small to read and/or touch with a finger (I have enough trouble as it is with my cell phone buttons).

    Who knows what news will look like in ten years? The only way to find out is to put all of these ideas to the test!

  30. Kelsey F says:

    All of these ideas are amazing, and most correlate with mine in some way.

    I also thought of the i-Phone immediately. Even less expensive cell phones today, such as my brick of a nokia, can already instant message and get internet access to do who knows what online. But I agree with Jessie about these devices being so small that it’d be problematic to read your daily news, especially for someone with bad eyes (me)! I think that the device would have to be larger and subscriptions would still be imperative, especially for smaller papers. I could see it being like some sort of electronic touchscreen tablet where news is delivered via satellite every morning.

    I also agree with Leah that users will be able to select what news is most imporant to them so that it has a tool much like the favorites toolbar.

    There doesn’t seem to be a lot to set it apart from online newspapers, but I think that the news will incorporate more visual and audio media as well to appeal to more people.

  31. Emily Rivet says:

    I agree with what Philip said about newspapers not being completely obsolete by 2017. Didn’t we think in 1997 that we were ten years away from flying cars and living on the moon? Ten years is a short time, in my opinion, to switch over from something as established as a newspaper to a ubiquitous digital, James Bond-esque replacement that functions as a communication device and a carrot-fueled car that folds up to fit in the back pocket of your silver space pants. I do think though, that we will be closer to something that exciting than we are to flying cars now, since the technology of today is providing faster improvements and technological upgrades every year, especially in the realm of digital communication. I can’t get my mind to go much further than the iPhone as far as aesthetic hardware goes, but to touch on what Dr. Carroll mentioned at the very beginning – social networking will be very important in determining information sharing. Most of the news stories I get excited about are emailed to me from my dad (the rest I tumble upon while doing my own headline scan every morning), usually with a disclaimer subject line to set me up. Most articles online even have the option of emailing the article by simply clicking the link – news is shared reader to reader more than it is shared reporter to reader. Interest filters (with the notion of hyper-hyper-locality) justify the articles to the readers, getting the information to those who need/want it. A social network of news is something that goes on now primarily in the form of blogging, but on a wide scale would be really useful in dispatching information.

  32. Emily Rivet says:

    Without an expansive technological mind, I can only muse about this next bit since I have no idea if it is at all possible (though, these days, the list of “impossible” is getting much shorter), but I often find myself not only wondering what something is but feeling like I’m the only one who doesn’t know about it. Much like a Google search does for instantly locating specific information, what if there was a tool that could scan or take vocal command to find the news for you on the spot? I was on a walk over the weekend and heard fireworks nearby but had no idea what was going on. Once I got home I did a Google search for fireworks with the date and the zip code and found a posted flier for a “Back to School” festival held at a nearby school that advertised fireworks. I was proud that I finally found out what was going on, but how cool would it be to see something, scan it into that sleek watch/phone/car device extravaganza of a newspaper and find the information to explain it instantaneously? I realize you can access the internet on a cell phone these days, but my phone doesn’t boast a cost-effective way to do that, so I avoid it if I can.

  33. Amanda D. says:

    A commerical for contact lens once featured a small hand-held device that projected the news right up in front of the reader. No screen was nesseccary, a hologram simply appeared. When the reader was done looking at the news he clicked a button, the hologram disappeared, and the small device was put away in a pocket. I feel that this is the future of newspapers and we are almost half way there with the iPhone. If only we could perfect holograms.

  34. Hope S says:

    Wow, you guys have come up with some great ideas for the newspaper of the future! I agree that the Nokia watch/iPhone type device will replace newspapers in the future.

    Just a few comments:
    First, to address the issue Charles discussed of hometown newspapers not being able to participate in the news device because of cost, I believe that ten years from now, local news services like the Rome News Tribune will no longer exist independently; rather, they will be owned by large media corporations. These dominating corporations will employ local reporters around the world and provide hyperlocal news, possibly through subscription and affiliates or through a regional structure.
    Second, many blog posts have pointed out the economic divide such a news device would cause. As a solution to that divide, I believe that less costly news media, such as free online subscriptions from a computer to a news service or television broadcasts would provide lower income households access to news without forcing them to purchase a costly device. The device would be a convenience and luxury for those who could afford it, but not the sole medium of news.
    Third, I disagree that the news device would be too bulky, because the nature of technology is to compress objects and make them smaller. Perhaps the screen could expand for more convenient viewing and then fold back into a two-inch display for travel. Someone in the 1970s would have imagined a laptop computer too bulky to be portable or too small to contain necessary information. We never know how technology will transform our lives and perceptions in the future.

    Have a great day!

  35. Andy B. says:

    I apologize if it’s already been said or discussed, I joined this a little late so there may be some repeated thoughts.

    I think the blog will be the news of the future. Websites like will be some of the most powerful news distributors. Expanding upon that, if added more personal preferences towards which kinds of diggs the suers were looking for, more relevant news items will show up first, the most diggs being listed first. But where will the news come from? Blogs. More freelance reporters than ever. I’m almost scared to be in the journalism career track because for all we know, hired, payed reporters could become obsolete and many news medias will rely on it’s viewers, listeners and readers. Journalists are writing less and less formal and less and less through a subscription based media. Why will the big news companies pay trained employees when they can have straight from the source material?

    I don’t know, I think for now news will stay the same, but I think news of the not so distant future (maybe 25 years or so) will be relying more and more on users, readers, listeners and viewers. We’ll see…

  36. Caitlin C. says:

    I don’t think that print newspapers will necessarily be obsolete in ten years, but I think they will certainly alter their format to better compete with internet-based news. I could see print dailies becoming more like subject-based blogs similar to The New York Times’ “Caucus” blog, which follows the 2008 presidential race. Instead of the standard newspaper sections – National, Metro, Arts – sections would be organized by more specific topics – Elections, Education, Foreign Policy with continental emphasizes. Each section would include more in depth reporting and analysis, the way blogs highlight and explore key issues.

    In addition to a print subscription, one would also receive instant headlines through email or directly to ones telephone [thinking of the iPhone as a model]. None of this is technologically innovative, I’m afraid, but it seems like a feasible way to negotiate the overabundance of information coupled with a shrinking attention span.

  37. Chelsea H says:

    In response to Meghan F.’s concern to the expense of this news delivering device every one is brainstorming to create- I believe that the technology we have to combine into our device might be expensive now, but 10 years down the road, it will be much more affordable. Take, for example, the evolution of the cell phone and computer. Camera phones at one time seemed such a luxury, and now I have a camera on my “free” phone. Also, someone mentioned buying subscriptions, and those fees allowing companies to give the device out relatively cheap because they generate revenue from the subscriptions.

    I agree with Leah R. about the device being “all in one.” I picture it encompassing the function of many gadgets we have now and also ones not even imagined yet.

    It seems as though the portable hand held device is great for traveling, and I picture it having the capabilities to switch ways of feeding you news based on your wants and needs at the moment. For example, it would have an audio news feed for when you are driving/ walking and a way to input with your voice to tell it what you want to hear so you won’t have to push buttons and scroll through menus when you should be watching what you are doing. (Like my parents always say, don’t flip the radio when you drive) Then when you are sitting in the subway or somewhere else, you can switch to a visual mode to navigate through your news via touch screen.

    Perhaps, however, people will want some sort of device that feeds news at home, too. We obviously have the TV now, but maybe something that encompasses more types of media than just a television. Something like our little travelling device, but maybe with programs for easier navigation, especially for less technologically savvy (perhaps for an older generation less acquainted with current technology) Or something just plain bigger and easier to see, as some have mentioned before. Something so people actively receive news like searching through a newspaper and viewing the headlines or passively letting it feed to them. It will be all about versatility and choice.

    Also, the idea of news coverage by the average Joe and Jane seems very interesting. This already happens to a certain extent of course, but to imagine an event happening on the other side of the world, and average people who happen to be in the midst are able to collect data and information and feed it almost directly to viewers. Hopefully this could make for more accuracy and more rounded views on news coverage.

  38. Caroline A. says:

    I agree a lot with Leah and Kelsey with the immediate thought of an iphone.

    However, I think that to take it a step further would be to expand on how they would get their news or what they would choose to view. I believe that in the next ten years news on TV will become obsolete. That’s not to say that shows will, because that’s a big difference. Shows like 60 minutes or Entertainment Tonight might still be around, but the five o’clock news probably won’t.

    Having a tickertape run continuously on the screen of whatever device of the future that could connect you to whatever show is available by the wireless provider such as AT&T or Virgin Mobile. Major news outlets like ABC, FOX, or NBC will licence out their broadcasts to these providers. So, customers who see something on the tickertape that interest them all they have to do is click and they’re either reading or listening to the news they wanted to hear.

    Although, this seems a little sci-fi’ish’ I wouldn’t be surprised if in the next ten years people are watching hallograms projected up from their new-age devices.

  39. Andrew says:

    I think the newspaper of 2017 will be designed so that you can get the information that you want, and not more than what you want, wherever you are, and whenever you want it. I think it will start to look less like newspapers on the internet and a little more like emails to the world. You can get you news online or, more convieniently, on you mobile device. However, like I said, it will work somewhat like email in that when you look at your device, you will have folders for different news categories(Sports, World, National, Arts, Politics, etc.). You will be able to choose which of they categories you want to receive news for. You will be able to get feature and general interest stories if you wish or you may just choose to receive breaking news in you chosen category. Also, news will be extremely current when possible. For example, rather that receiving news in your paper the day after that Roger Federer won the US Open. You will select your mobile sports section, then view the story “US Open-Federe vs. Nadal” and the score and commentary will be constantly updated. Then, after the match is over, the story will read “Federer wins” and you will be able to read a story in which someone has recapped the match just as you would in a newspaper.
    So, anytime anytime a breaking news story comes out, you will be alerted on you mobile device. If you want to continue following the subject you can choose to keep receiving more detailed coverage as it surfaces.
    This is just my general idea

  40. Kaitlin K. says:

    Coming in late to this thread may have limited my creativity, but it seems that many of us have similar ideas. I totally agree with the the iphone idea, and that was my first thought when this project was suggested. I feel that eventually everything will be a lot like the iphone, with a touch screen and so focused on convergence that everything is right there at the tip of your fingers. I think that TVs will be like giant iphones, or even just controlled by voice.

    Speaking of voice (excuse the majorly lame pun), I think that the aforementioned portable devices like the iphone news thing will have cool functions like voice activation. You could narrow down a search with your voice–say you go from international news and want something a little more local, like national news, then narrow it down to your state, then city, then county, etc. Make it as hyperlocal as you want. Then with pictures, you could project the pictures or even text onto a wall or something so you could share it with large groups of people. For people who are visually impaired it could have a function that reads off the stories to people.

    And of course it would have video, but also lots of pictures and stuff. That’d be sweet.

  41. Anna Z says:

    I think print will remain, even though some protest this fact. However, it will not function as anyone’s primary news source, but rather as a piece of nostalgia for those of us who remember when we actually had to use some brainpower to get our news.
    In addition, I recently saw a story about a micro screen, already in use in Japan, which hooks on to eyeglasses and fits right in front of the eye. It is practical for big cities, where people have long commutes and not a lot of room to whip out an iphone.
    I also envision a sort of Fahrenheit 451 kind of world- walls become interactive screens that feed us news, pictures, videos, anything and everything, and then revert quietly back to plain white walls.

  42. Sarah Kohut says:

    I wonder what will be considered news in 2017? I think that most publications stray away from what news actually is because they want to keep the audiences attention. Lindsey Lohan for example was one of the highlights of our news reports ealier this Summer. Does she really deserve this much coverage becasue she went a little bit crazy and had some coke on her. Pleanty of people do this everyday and yes she is a celebrity, but again, who cares. There is a genocide going on in the Sudan and any number of wars all right now and yet Lohan seems to doinate the headlines. I just hope that we don’t stay on this track of the daily gossip being considered news.
    And I concure with the others news will be instantly available whenever we want it and whatever we want of it. You can already have e-mails sent to your blackberrys so I am sure headlines will be next!

  43. Lauren Wright says:

    In a way I think all this talk of hand-held devices with all of the aforementioned features and portals may be a bit further than 10 years… but we always seem to be surprised how fast technology moves. However, I do believe there will still be printed newspapers, however small, somewhere somehow in 2017.

    If the futuristic media becomes pro-amateur, that is a threatening idea for those in the business. That could greatly cut down on journalists, yet increase job opportunities for programmers to come up with said search engines and devices. The future may hold a totally different job title for editors.

    I love Wikipedia and (dang Andy you stole my idea)! I think they are the beginning to this particular aspect of the future. User submitted content and streaming would link stories closer to home and possibly bring a great sense of community. News of the future is an experience. We are already bombarded by news, ads, and influences daily.. hourly… how will people be affected if they receive it by minute or second? We may just go crazy.

    People’s attention spans are decreasing. Checking portable devices and portals on your way to/from work/lunch etc would decrease the story even more. How will people get that real in-depth news? Print still? Will there be tons of leads linked to deeper stories?

    If news of the future is pro-amateur and user submitted, that could be detrimental to accountability and accuracy…. and will the technology always be reliable? This could also mean the readers/users choose what current events we read about. I don’t care to read about Jolie and Pitts’ 27th adopted child, although they may be role models for Americans in their comfort bubble. Kohut is exactly right. Who knew about the genocide in Sudan before a few college kids went over there and made a documentary. Now Invisible Children seems to be a craze. That could be thought of as user submitted…but consumer America loves celeb gossip (ew).

    I also agree with Hope that independent newspapers will begin to be bought out by major media corporations. Who controls what we read? The corporations or users? Either way, that frightens me.

    Don’t get me wrong, I have many concerns about the future of media, but technology is a wonderful thing and I am excited to see “what they think of next” by the time I hit the ground… wonder what cemetaries of 2088 will be like?

  44. Caitie Jones says:

    Along with GPS devices to allow for hyper-localization, there should be a feature in the news device to store information for different areas that readers frequent in their daily lives. This would allow that them to call up any area at the touch of a button to get the information they want or need.

  45. Richard Barron says:

    Just as subscriptions don’t cover all the cost of printing a paper newspaper, I don’t think a subscription will cover the entire cost of an electronic device. So the newspaper will have a clear motivation to make sure everybody gets one, whatever the cost.

    After all, cable television has required people to use its own customized device for years. A portable device could be the ideal way for a local newspaper to gain new, loyal readers impressed with the value it would add, and it would then be the perfect tool for getting them interested in whatever form of news they care about.

    Obviously, the hyper-local staff will never be hyper-large. But local news will always get priority at local news outlets. We’ll have to come up with more creative ways to bulk up what we offer than simply a link to the AP on our Web site.

    I also want to dig in my heels about the idea that a print edition will disappear in 10 years. The biggest generation, baby boomers, still loyal readers, will still be in the prime of their later lives in 10 years. Most of them, and younger, still enjoy reading a print edition. But we’ll want to be creative to make sure they can get the home paper more easily when
    they travel – they’ll be doing a lot of that.

    Also, core audiences will always crave news from trained professional people who can tell them more than they can find out on their own. We see it in business, entertainment and other specialized publications that do well locally.

    Wouldn’t it be possible for a local government newspaper to be successful?

    And finally, none of these ideas is the ONE answer. They’ll all be layered into a news marketing mix far more elaborate than the print/Web site model than we’re using now, I believe.

  46. bc says:

    If we extrapolate historical patterns of increasing speed, decreasing size and costing, we should see by 2017 something on the order of a wafer-thin, wearable device or unit that is affordable, particularly with subsidies from advertisers and the service providers. Let’s remember how little we had in 1997 in these areas (portability, customizability, etc.). We’ve come a long way, baby.

    This unit should be able to synch up with the big, flat, hi-def screen many will have at home, for the entertainment and gaming. This unit should be socially networked and news networked, allowing sharing of content with merely a touch. It should be multi-modal, allowing sound and picture with the same facile ease as it delivers text and static content.

    We should break away from the iPhone model, as well. Yes, it’s cool, but as Rocco mentioned after class, we will have moved far beyond the iPhone by 2017, as cool as the iPhone might be.

    Finally, I agree with those who declare reports of print’s demise to be greatly exaggerated. We will still have print, just as we still have radio (TV threatened to kill off radio back in the 1950s), but it’s not the radio of the 1930s. Print will diminish in importance and currency, I have no doubt. And it will still be easy in 2017 to turn whatever we have into a print product of some sort, a summary or distillation.

    Good work, gang. I’m going to turn this thing off so I can begin putting together our entry and send it in. I’ll be using InDesign. Wish me luck.

  47. Randy says:

    I agree with many of you who say the newspaper of the future will be published through an i-phone type device. In ten years, I think there will still be hard copy newspapers which will be specialty items. For travelers who want a copy of a local newspaper with their hotel breakfast, or for finanial analysts, there will still be a hard copy newspaper covering and analyzing business news. Those professionals are glued to LCD monitors all day, and I think they’ll want a hard copy paper to peruse over coffee or lunch. But for the masses, the newspaper will be a source of information delivered through hand-held devices, mini-computers, laptops, desktops and

    I have a new LG TV phone and I love watching NBC Nigthly News on it when I’m working late in the office. It has become a valid source of news, but it’s just TV miniaturized for the cell phone screen.

    The hyper-local scenario will surely happen because advertising revenue opportunities are huge.

  48. Ryan Tuck says:

    Surely you all have seen the bold predictions of the “Epic” movie by Poynter, which makes a lot of the same predictions as you all in terms of a media landscape that offers complete mobility and customization of content.

    Check it out, if you haven’t –

    I agree with you all that the newspaper of the future will allow for near-complete customization of content. And that means in terms of the mode, too. Users will choose the news they want and how they want to get it. (And I agree, too, that it likely will be through increasingly mobile devices.)

    But that doesn’t mean that I think it’s the best way to go. I fear a media universe that is THAT customizable and that mobile. If people choose entirely what they read, they’ll never be exposed to anything outside their preferences. And if they’re downloading media (in the metaphorical and literal sense), what does that do for comprehension.

    I’d like to see the newspaper of the future address many of these functions mentioned (which, no doubt, are great and useful) without kowtowing entirely to on-the-go consumption. If we can stand up to Google-based customization tools and mobile media, we have to do it through our content.


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