Alex Massie

The Future is Specialised

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Matt Yglesias is absolutely right:

The newspaper, as an institution, is an odd one -- an enormous bundle of disparate kinds of content whose rationale for existing has to do with the economics of printing and distributing cheap paper and ink on a daily basis. In an online world, the economics are different and argue in favor of specialization and niches. And this is also almost certainly better for editorial quality. It would be extremely odd for one person to be well-qualified to supervise coverage of all the different things The New York Times tries to cover. Why not get political news from a political news outlet, movie reviews from a place that specializes in movies, and local news from an organization that's really passionate about covering its community rather than viewing it as a JV form of journalism to be endured before moving on to something bigger? And in the future, we will.

This is sad news for those of us who love newspapers - even if we might also admit that they're not as fun places as they used to be - but it's far from clear it's necessarily terrible news for readers. And as I've said before, RSS readers and the proliferation of specialist blogs has meant that many of us actually build our own newspapers these days, picking and choosing the coverage that best fits our particular interests and prejudices.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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