In an article a month or so ago, I discussed Jon Katz’s prediction that the web would kill print newspapers. I argued that news has been turned into a commodity that people consume in quite a different way than they did just 10 years ago, and that while it has not yet obliterated the newspaper, it has certainly changed they way they’re doing business. (And the newspapers who have not yet changed their model, are up for a big surprise…)

Now, Wired is at it again – and they seem, I’m glad to say, share quite a few of my views. In yesterdays article Newspapers Should Really Worry, reporter Adam L. Penenberg, reports that newspapers, according to one study done by The Washington Post, are having difficulty appealing to the very vital demographic group of 18- to 34-year-olds, and they believe this has got to do with a change in reader habits. In the article, Wired talks to a few people to try to pinpoint the problem:

[John Athayde, a web designer] views news as “packets of distributed information,” and uses NetNewsWire to aggregate about 70 news sources, including several blogs. “I typically will read entire stories within the news aggregator, bypassing all design (and) advertising” to get “to the content”, [he says].

Although their interviewees may not be representative of the broader spectrum of news consumers or newspaper readers in any part of the world, the views are still of uttermost importance. I remember a time when the music industry didn’t think in a hundred years that mp3-downloading could seriously threaten their business model.

The question is also; how long can online news-outlets provide news for free? Considering the growing number of online newspapers that offer RSS-syndication to please users who are tired of intrusive advertising “chimneys”, the papers only source of revenue is also dropping. Advertising in RSS feeds might be controversial right now, but its probably inevitable that users will have to get used to it (and/or invent the feed version of a popup blocker to avoid it from littering their newsreader).

Wired: Newspapers Sould Really Worry