A stirring defense of print media's future

Forbes writer looks to history for a sense of what the future holds

Quentin Hardy at Forbes.com has a thought-provoking answer to those (like Steve Ballmer) who see not only a continued decline of print media but its actual extinction.

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Hardy writes:

Print media is fine. Coming from a third-generation journalist, this could fairly be construed as whistling past (or even into) the graveyard. But consider how few media have ever gone away -- movies were going to kill theater, radio was going to kill movies, television was going to kill radio, cable television was going to kill television. Looking at the history of these things, about the only medium that went from "thriving" to gone was stereoscopic slides. That took about 40 years. Print is a portable, simple, disposable, graphically useful form; it does need some downsizing and a new business model to thrive. Those will happen, since the form is so compelling.

I was in a Brookstone store at the mall last week and noticed that they're selling turntables right there alongside all the modern-day gadgetry. Brought a smile to my 52-year-old face and regrets that I didn't have the kids along for a show-and-tell about the old days.

Don't misunderstand my point: When my 8-year-olds are adults, books, magazines and, yes, even newspapers, won't be mere oddities like the turntable at Brookstone; they'll still going concerns -- less popular, less important, much different, but very much part of the everyday landscape.

Not so sure about Brookstone.

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