With many claiming that newspapers have entered a prolonged senescence, the online vultures are now truly swirling. In a new blog post, Ross Dawson, a self-proclaimed “inspirational keynote speaker and futurist” has laid out a timeline for the extinction of newspapers in every country in the world. Which is why we at NewsFeed, despite being part of the online revolution of news distribution, are moving to Mongolia. Because we love newspapers.
And in Mongolia, according to Dawson, gray print will continue holding truth to power until 2038. By contrast, U.S. newspapers will be insignificant in seven years, Dawson says. Click here to open the full extinction timeline.
As one would expect from a conference darling, Dawson adorns his blog with a fancy, PowerPoint-esque slide that lists the key factors that are gently pushing newspapers into the good night. “Technology uptake, Economic Development, Industry Structure. Consumer Behaviors, Government, and Demographics” all determine how quickly newspapers will become insignificant, he says. Dawson adds a caveat: “Newspapers in their current form becoming insignificant is not the same as the death of news-on-paper, which will continue in a variety of forms.” (See how to fix today’s newspaper.)
Despite NewsFeed’s skepticism of anybody making cash off predicting the future (clairvoyant circa spring, 1914: “Era of peace and stability in Europe awaits!”; circa 2006: “Housing Prices Never Go Down, and P.S. Everyone move to Ireland, the Celtic Tiger!”), Dawson’s prognostications seem particularly thin. He doesn’t list his methodology or break out his reasoning for each country, and just a cursory glance raises questions: how can U.K newspapers become insignificant in under a decade when they continue to set the political agenda today more than any other media in that country? Russian newspapers will remain relevant until 2036, Dawson says, but there are already questions right now about the significance of a fourth estate under the Kremlin’s authoritarian rule.
In another footnote to his blog, Dawson adds that his timeline “shows best estimates..and his intended to stimulate useful strategic conversations.” On that at least, we applaud his efforts. Perhaps he can keynote a conference on the subject in Mongolia? We hear Ulan Bator is lovely this time of year.