The New York Times has now moved to their new building on 8th Avenue and 41st Street.
But deep in the bowels of their old building stand massive printing presses.
They were simply too large to move out, too deep in the ground, and probably bolted directly to the Manhattan bedrock.
Before the Times moved their printing operations to New Jersey, the paper came from West 43rd Street. And when they rolled the presses, the entire building rumbled with them. It was like firing up a 747 in the basement.
That was the ‘power of the press’.
Approximately 75% of the cost of a newspaper is the sheer physicality of the thing. The manufacturing process. 25% is the editorial.
Think about it. Paper, ink, presses, plates, distribution.
If you want to expand circulation, you have to first make a massive capital investment to get the ‘thing’ into people’s hands physically every morning. That is a Herculean task in itself.
Then along comes the web.
Suddenly, you can publish your paper, put it in, quite literally, a few billion homes, from Schenectedy to Shanghai, for free.
And you can update it as often as you like. (Try recalling a newspaper).
That is why the web is so irresistable to the newspaper business. \
That is why they will inevitably go there.
And as newspapers move inexorably to the web from the content side, video also moves inexorably to the web from the technology side.
It is a marriage made in heaven. In fact, it is a necessity, because in the world of the Internet, there is a kind of Gresham’s Law: More dynamic media will drive out less dynamic media. Ads for real estate with only text are trumped by ads for real estate with photos, and soon ads for real estate with video will trump the earlier two iterations. The same holds true for the delivery of information. (Note the failure of Text TV in the 1980s).
And as newspapers go to video, they are not going to go out and start hiring expensive traditional ‘crews’. That would be an act of insanity.
They are, however, embracing the VJ model as quickly as they can. It is the only logical way to go.
It is happening quite fast, and the product, although plagued by the publisher who simply gives out the camcorders and says ‘go’, is getting better and better all the time.
The American Journalism Review does quite a good piece on this, entitled The Video Explosion.
Take a look.