The future of the press

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The future of the printed press

challenges in a digital world



Contents

4 Preface

5 Executive summary

1. GENERAL PUBLISHING DEVELOPMENTS
9 Concerns for newspaper publishers
9 Changing economic models
10 Free Content
11 Grabbing Attention
11 Subscriptions
13 Advertising
14 Classifieds
14 Transactions
15 Television
17 Conclusions

2. FOCUS ONEUROPE
19 Internet access
19 Changing media patterns
21 The growing European advertising market
24 American services in the European Internet market
26 The European approach
28 Newspaper markets
29 Conclusions

3. JOURNALISM IN THE DIGITAL AGE
32 Journalism and the Internet
32 Selection
33 Accuracy
34 From information to knowledge
34 New dilemmas
36 Conclusions4. NEWSPAPERS AND DEMOCRACY
39 Internet and democratic information processes
39 Direct communication
39 Access to public information
40 Activism
40 Commercialisation
42 Everything all the time
43 The special role of newspapers
44 Conclusions

5. INNOVATION AND DEVELOPMENT
46 Establishing a position in the digital media landscape
47 The shape of things to come
49Conclusions

6. PUBLIC POLICIES AND THE PRINTED PRESS
51 Concluding remarks and points for discussion

52 Bibliography

Preface

In September 1997, the 'Report on the Impact of New Technologies Upon the Press in Europe' was presented to the European Parliament by Katerina Daskalaki, rapporteur of the Committee on Culture, Youth, Education and the Media. The report noted how theenormous changes presently taking place in the new media landscape might affect the role of European newspapers, and expressed concerns about the consequences for democratic information processes in the EU.

The deluge of unprocessed information, the marginalisation of certain social groups in access to information, the commercialisation of content and a perceived tendency towards human isolationwere all reasons for the Committee to draw attention to the role of the printed press, particularly in strengthening and encouraging a public debate, controlling political power and providing critical analysis. This unique role of the press is so closely connected to the democratic information processes in our society that such major shifts in the media landscape as are presently taking placewarrant close study of potentially distorting effects in these fields.

Policies that affect the future of the press in the digital world are manifold, including those in the fields of copyright regulation, the establishment of new journalistic requirements, harmonisation of VAT regulations, and assured access to networks.
This report, written by media analyst Monique van Dusseldorp at the requestof the European Journalism Centre, aims to provide a background to the concerns expressed about the role of the printed press and electronic publishing, and has taken the issue of democratic information processes as its central focus. Based on specialist literature and Internet research, as well as interviews with leading newspaper editors, the report will form the basis of a roundtable discussionon the future of the press, to be held on 24 and 25 September in Maastricht.

We warmly invite you to join this discussion on the future of the printed press, and welcome your comments and suggestions, in writing and by e-mail. To this end we have set up a website that, from the date of publication up to the round table, will serve as a public arena for discussing the future of the press.Maastricht, May 1998

Jan Bierhoff

Director European Journalism Centre

Executive summary

THE MEDIA LANDSCAPE IS CHANGING

The world of information delivery is undergoing profound changes. The present transformation of the communications sector marks a fundamental shift from mass broadcast media to interactive media use. The Internet is already giving consumers more choice and control...
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