The Guardian is getting closer to something sensible by way of reporting the news about print. Jeff Jarvis has an occasional small space on an inside page of the Media supplement. He writes at greater length on Buzzmachine blog, about 'news organisations', the development of newspapers online as well as in print. Last week he linked to an mp3 of a speech by Alan Rusbridger, Guardain editor, on how this trend could effect the Guardian and other titles. (see previous post).
Today on the main editorial page the lead is about books, with much to celebrate. Even Richard and Judy are welcomed as encouraging wider readership for books. No mention of crowding out other titles or encouraging discounting.
There is a smaller space for 30 years of Apple, noting the iPod and the rise of download music.
But almost nothing on e-books or online text, either free or paid for.
There are two other bits of writing that could have been linked in. Page 34 The Saturday Web Page features Emily Bell, getting to grips with the 'unimagined newspaper'. This moves away from assuming that news can only be distributed through paper. Writing could be at any length. The term 'news organisation' is used to indicate that cost and income can be online as well as in print. These ideas have been discussed by Jeff Jarvis on Buzzmachine blog and in print, but this is the first time Emily Bell has included newspapers at such length in her reviews of digital disruption.Apparently Roy Greenslade will soon be rejoining the Guardian with a media blog. If he writes about 'news organisations' and gives some numbers for online income this really will be a new phase that will convince proper print journalists to pay attention.
The Saturday Review includes a summary of news from The Bookseller. Literary folk are assumed to support the book trade as everyone can aspire to be a dealer in second hand books. This week there is a comment on the contrasting fortunes of Waterstones' campus bookshops ( six closing out of 28) and Blackwell Publishing, on sale for £600 million. The explanation is that "students are researching on the internet or swapping secondhand books, while publishing giants are successfully switching to online channels." While true, this is also interesting as an indication of what is accepted as Guardian copy. Not long ago there was a page of tirade against Google scanning, complete with an illustration of Charles Dickens. There has been no reply to this published in print as far as I know. Victor Keegan has written online in 'Comment is Free'. But if the publishing giants are 'switching to online channels', presumably Google will be better accepted over time.
Joel Rickett, deputy editor of the Bookseller, also mentions a recent conference in Bournemouth at which it was explained that something called "e-learning" is taking over universities. Presumably this is informal learning, post-compulsary, life-long or whatever you want to call it. Since the disaster of the UK e-University there has been little formal promotion for e-learning. The use of social networking websites by school students is sometimes seen just as a danger or waste of time. There is almost no learning design around a mobile phone. Have I gone into rave mode? Well, my impression is that Victor Keegan will not get his words into the 'Comment is Free' site very often as they tend to appear on a Thursday as part of the 'technology' strand. How could this be relevant for the literary concerns of a Saturday? Maybe the first week of IPEX will be an exception. I will try to calm down, keep reading the Guardian and check what turns up.