Clay Shirky on the death of newspapers:

When the Tribune Company recently got rid of their newspapers, the New York Times ran the story under a headline “The Tribune Company’s publishing unit is being spun off, as the future of print remains unclear.”

The future of print remains what? Try to imagine a world where the future of print is unclear: Maybe 25 year olds will start demanding news from yesterday, delivered in an unshareable format once a day. Perhaps advertisers will decide “Click to buy” is for wimps. Mobile phones: could be a fad. After all, anything could happen with print. Hard to tell, really.

It is sort of humorous/sad how reluctant most publications are to call the most obvious of spades a spade. You’d think there was bias or something.

I linked to this the other day, but what the hell, I’m linking again. David Carr:

For the last six months, my magazines, once a beloved and essential part of my media diet, have been piling up, patiently waiting for some mindshare, only to be replaced by yet another pile that will go unread. I used to think that people who could not keep up with The New Yorker were shallow individuals with suspect priorities. Now I think of them as just another desperate fellow traveler, bobbing in a sea of information none of us will see to the bottom of. We remain adrift.

I’m someone who used to rush home from school on days that I new the newest copy of a magazine I subscribed to was due to arrive at my home. I still subscribed to many of those magazines, on my iPad, and I basically never open them.

I really can’t remember the last time I read one. Maybe 18 months ago?

David Carr on a resurgence in printed media:

Publishers who turned out under-designed and under-edited books and magazines in the Internet age have learned the hard way that consumers expect excellence in print. Just as McSweeney’s grand experimental newspaper Panorama suggested in 2009, and as big, beautiful magazines like Vogue prove every month, print is not dead, it simply has some very specific attributes that need to be leveraged. Good printed work includes a mix of elements in which juxtaposition and tempo tell their own story, the kind of story best told with ink and paper.

I largely agree with this. Rather than simply thinking that material published on the web and material published on a page are the same thing, it’s better if both sides play to the strengths of their respective mediums. Wallpaper* magazine is another that strikes me as doing this well.

And, of course, there’s always books as art.

This represents an opportunity for the magazine business to become more leveraged toward consumer revenue and a little less dependent on advertising.

David Carey, the president of Hearst Magazines, talking to WSJ about their success (and challenges) in magazines going fully digital.

It’s pretty interesting that the move to tablets has allowed the magazine publishers to actually raise prices — and customers aren’t revolting. It’s still a fraction of the overall numbers, but it’s a good sign for those publishers because newsflash: the ad revenue isn’t coming back.

Now if only they could make their magazine apps not suck donkey balls

Edmund Lee for Bloomberg:

Despite the metrics, the larger significance of the Times’ newfound subscription wealth is that readers, not advertisers, are now more directly responsible for the Times’ business — minus a few stubborn bloggers.

Which is a good thing. Newsflash: quality content priced fairly with easy enough ways to pay leads to people paying.