Newspapers could be on death's door in five years: Buxton
By Ann Hui
Bill Buxton, principal researcher for Microsoft, has this prediction for newspapers: in five years, it will be as inappropriate to read a print version of the Globe and Mail or the New York Times as it was five years ago to smoke in a restaurant or to not pick up after your dog.
Grim news, maybe, but Buxton doesn't think so.
The word 'future' should be plural, he says, because we have a choice in deciding which future we want. And the future does not have to be doom and gloom.
In order to make the future work for journalists, Buxton believes, they need to learn and understand the technology around them -- understand its cultural, economic and historical implications.
Technology is a cultural artifact, Buxton said. And because of this, journalists should think about technology in terms of its impact and not the box it's in.
In his speech, he presented a recent review of the Apple iPad, questioning the reviewer's choice to write about the iPad's technical functions and flash capabilities, rather than its cultural implications.
"That's like reviewing the latest Margaret Atwood novel and saying 'it's a book. It comes in hard cover, not soft. The font -- not only does it have high luminance, but it's a serif font.'"
"We have to change how we write about and talk about technology," Buxton said. "We're in this together."
Ann Hui is a radio room reporter at the Star. She is also completing her final year of the master of journalism program at Ryerson University. firstname.lastname@example.org