It is from Scott Adams, the creator of the unparallelled Dilbert strip cartoon and gives his views on the future of newspapers.
Like most current or ex-newspaper journalists I fret far more than I should about the future of journalism in the digital age. The advent of mobile phones, blogs and digital cameras mean there is rarely such a thing as a simple bystander when even vaguely newsworth events are unfolding these days.
Instead, eyewitnesses are now transformed into instant correspondents – or “citizen journalists” – with the means to capture events and to get them instantly in front of voracious audience. So does that mean the journalists of my generation (and younger) are kaput?
Many think so. When I started my first newspapers job as a junior reporter with the Edinburgh Evening News I pitched up at the office well scrubbed, shiny and full of optimism. Only to have that youthful exuberance unceremoniously strangled by a cynical old hack who assured me the paper would cease to exist by the year 2000.
Had he predicted the internet? The rise of the digital age? The global sharing of information for free?
Nah, he believed local radio stations and the fledgling satellite operators would put paid to the printed word.
That’s the problem with trying to predict the future. It often ends up as an exercise akin to those articles from the 1950s Daily Mail about how life would change in the decades ahead. So, not only should I now be jobless, but I should be wearing a bacofoil suit and travelling on a moving pavement to catch a 3D movie with my robot girlfriend.
However, this article is quite refreshing. While its bluntness (newspapers are two mobile phone developments away from extinction) is quite shocking, the alternatives it suggests are both credible and palatable.
Who would complain about being able to pick all the parts of the news you want to get – by type, by geography, by tone and by time – and discard the bits you don’t fancy, with the public having a poweful say in setting the acceptable level of quality? Not me.