Saturday, April 18, 2009

Will the Kindle Save the News?

The Kindle 2 is that neat bit of lightweight tablet technology put out by Amazon that'll let you read books, magazines, and newspapers. So I have to wonder, will the Kindle (or readers like it) save the news?

The math is bad. It's expensive to collect the news (opinion is cheap, but news is expensive). The decoupling of advertising from news, especially for newspapers, is causing serious cuts in newsrooms across the country. Less news is getting reported, because let's face it, nearly all the news out there is generated by newspapers. In part people don't like reading paper, so you have to wonder if the Kindle can help. We're going to test just that soon as part of a study, so I'll report back, but if we can find a way to "iPod" the news then perhaps we can also salvage political knowledge.
I'm hopeful, but not convinced. A systematic study will tell us more than people blathering opinions on blogs (er, kinda like what I'm doing now).

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