As editor of a newspaper, I'm often asked my thoughts on the future of the industry. Specifically, people ask me how much longer newspapers will be around in printed format.
As a max, I think we're talking a 10-year lifespan. It could be less, but I don't see more.
This doesn't mean great news organizations like Southern Standard, The Tennessean, and New York Times will cease to exist. It means over the next decade, by my estimation, we'll be moving from newsprint to solely the internet, which can improve our coverage in many respects.
What's vital to remember is most folks want reliable and trustworthy information about their community. They may not take the time to attend county government meetings, but they want to know what's happening with their tax dollars. They want to know if we're getting an indoor pool or package liquor.
The great thing about moving more news to the internet is it can really enhance our coverage. Instead of just stories, we can post videos. Instead of just one picture from an event, we can post dozens. Instead of waiting until the morning to read it in the paper, you can read it online shortly after it happens.
In keeping up with the times, I'm pleased to announce I took my first training session on the Standard's new and improved website Monday afternoon. It's the first of many training sessions as it's estimated it will take us about six weeks before our new website goes live. The launch has been set for late September.
From what I've seen, this new website will be like a magic carpet ride when it comes to delivering the news in digital format. It has dozens of snazzy features users will love.
Will this new website replace our printed newspaper? No, not now, but the industry is slowly creeping that way. And this doesn't have to be seen as a catastrophe.
Does anyone long for the days of taking pictures with a camera, then sending the film off to be developed? Of course not. We still take pictures, more pictures than ever, but digital technology makes the process more enjoyable and instant.
Does anyone long for the days of using a landline attached to a wall? Of course not. We still talk on the phone, but cellphones give us the luxury of talking anywhere.
Just because there's not a Blockbuster on every corner doesn't mean we no longer watch movies. Now we can watch movies any time of day by clicking a button on our TV remote.
When it comes to the newspaper industry, I liken the move to digital content to an episode of "Star Trek." It's a bold, new frontier.
For me, it's an exciting time to be a journalist. I did my first Facebook Live broadcast on election night and was able to report who won the race for sheriff about 10 seconds after the results were released. It was instant, accurate reporting and that's what is expected in this age of technology.
People no longer buy cassette tapes, but we still listen to music. By the same token, there will always be a need for trustworthy news, no matter the format.
Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.