Picture this scenario: You’re on vacation in Luxembourg and you take out your Android powered phone. You go to Google News, and one of the top stories is about a political scandal in that very city. An eerily relevant coincidence? Hardly. Your phone tracked where you were and selected headlines from your current location.
That is the near future, or so Google hopes. Yet again, digital journalism offers an advantage that print media is locked out of. The day’s copy of the New York Times is the same anywhere you take it, but digital news will be able to dynamically update without any effort from the user to become more relevant. And all of that at the price of free.
Static content becomes more outmoded with every innovation. There are few who would argue that a physical encyclopedia is more convenient than Wikipedia. So too is rapidly becoming the fate of newspapers. While some may be uncomfortable with giving up their privacy for these advantages, if that were such a widespread concern as to be damning, Google would still be just a search engine.
When a picture of even the near future involves things newspapers simply cannot do, it is questionable to what degree they will even be part of it. Newspapers are very likely to become like music records, still around for those who want them but only preferred by a very small minority. Print, it seems, will merely become a special interest item as technology races by it. Print has already realized digital journalism is something it cannot compete against, but most work alongside with, integrate and ultimately adapt to. They do, after all, desire to still turn a profit.