My friend and former colleague David Churbuck is sounding the death knell for print journalism. I disagree. As I commented on his blog, I agree with his point that print is not stable. But it’s not dead. What we’re seeing is the painful, bloody transition from mass communications to niche media. Print will be one of many channels, but never again will it drive the publishing business – the Web is assuming that perch.
Here’s will print will live: narrowcasting, with niche publications and custom magazines targeted at very small slices of customers, even smaller than the current trade model. The model has flipped – you certainly don’t want print driving your business strategy. But the game is not over. Publishers just need to finish shedding all the excess and redundancies that have built up over the last 20 years as they tried to bolt an online strategy onto an infrastructure that was not designed to support it. Sure, there will be plenty of dead bodies along the way, but I’m not ready to put a fork in print just yet.