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Panpa Bulletin : July 2006
July 2006 PANPA BULLETIN | 17 THE FUTURE In the late 70s the golf ball type- writer whizzed and clicked away throughout newspaper offices except in editorial depart- ments where clunky older mechan- ical typewriters were the weapon of choice. Wang introduced word-process- ing and while it looked exciting it seemed the switch to this technol- ogy would take quite some time. Next followed Windows-based desktop computers and they start- ed to creep into the business end of newspapers. The creep became a gallop and seemingly overnight the electric typewriter was gone. On editorial floors, clunky mechanical typewrit- ers were replaced with computers and the electric typewriter hardly made an appearance. It was gone before it arrived. It would have been a wise and perhaps clairvoyant typewriter manufacturer who would have foreseen such a quick demise for their industry. Similarly, even in Adobe's wildest dreams and Quark's worst night- mares would either have expected the switch to Adobe InDesign to be as rapid as it has been. In the late 80s newspaper peo- ple were extremely nervous about electronic publishing and many thought the printed newspaper would be gone in a decade. News- papers are still with us even though electronic news is making inroads into readership but the smarter publishers have this contingency covered anyway. There is a point to these three examples and it is that while it is mostly possible to predict trends it is extremely difficult to predict the timing of such trends. A wise friend of mine used to say; "If you can tell me the price of a litre of petrol at my local service station tomorrow, I will start believing in business projections". He was wise but somewhat pes- simistic because not knowing the future shouldn't stop us trying to an- ticipate where it might be heading. Prediction is a vital process in fact, if business is to flourish and develop. It is with this in mind that The PANPA Bulletin will engage in some crystal ball-gazing over the next few issues as a service to you. We may not get it absolutely right, but we will certainly try. So leaping from 10,000 feet with- out a parachute we will look at tech- nologies and social trends which could and should affect different aspects of publishing over the next five to 10 years. The thoughts and opinions of many experts will be sought for each article, in order to widen the probabilities. Readership Does the printed newspaper (or magazine) have a long-term future and what is long-term? If ink on pa- per is doomed, how quickly or oth- erwise will be its demise? Does the Baby-Boomer gen- eration hold the key to printed newspapers as we currently know them? Is there an opportunity to continue with print after the Baby-Boomer demographic de- clines and disappears? Is the next generation willing to read newspapers or do they expect news only to be delivered electroni- cally?Iftheyarewillingtoreadnews- papers, what do they need which they are not currently receiving? How do we reach them and how do we teach them? What electronic delivery techniques are just around the corner and what is planned for say five years out? What technolo- gies will be available for delivery in five years which we don't even know about? Advertising Do advertisers and newspaper management understand the elec- tronic option or willit require a mas- sive paradigm shift? How will the in- dustrycome togrips withincreasing advertising spend electronically? Does electronic advertising al- low as much flexibility and creativ- ity as the printed page? What is the thinking of major media buyers and creative advertising people about the next five to 10 years? Will publishers allow advertisers direct access to the booking process (electronic or print)? Is the advertis- ing sales rep a threatened species or merely needing to become a cha- meleon? Can electronic media be made profitable without huge invest- ment? How should smaller publish- ers with limited funds capitalise on electronic publishing? What will be the picture by 2010? Technology The Bulletin will talk to a range of experts, to ascertain what is on the horizon for pre-press, printing, circulation, delivery, information management in order to help you plot the next five to 10 years. trevor Colvin has held senior positions with fairfax both in australia and overseas. he is now a director of advanced Publishing Systems Pty.ltd If you want to add to the debate you can email trevor at tcolvin@ advancedpublishing.com.au In a series of coming article Trevor Colvin will give his insight into the next decade of newspaper technology In the late 80s newspaper people were extremely nervous about electronic publishing and many thought the printed newspaper would be gone in a decade Future view The Sydney Morning Herald war correspondent Harry Summers dispatching copy at Morotai, the day that allied forces landed, 15 September 1944, faIrfaxPhotoS