Newspapers are in an existential crisis. One after another is drying up and those that aren’t are barely keeping their heads above water. Take The Rocky Mountain News, the oldest newspaper in Colorado. It was a powerhouse until it published its last paper on Friday. Now it’s just an artifact of the past. Similarly, the San Francisco Chronicle may close its doors if Hearst Corp. can’t find someone to buy it. It’s a sad, but potentially exciting day for journalism as we say goodbye to an era of newspapers and welcome the dawning of a new day.!@!
And it’s a new day because Gen Yers have no interest in newsprint, and unfortunately newspapers just can’t figure out what this young generation wants. I think we’re still struggling to visualize what will actually replace newspapers once they’re gone.
Like newspapers, learning institutions are facing an existential crisis in that they have a whole new audience — twenty-somethings — that they need to appeal to. Newspapers didn’t work, and neither will books and binders. And it’s clear that if you don’t appeal to them, they will turn elsewhere.
Take this PostChron wiki. It was developed in response to the potential closing of the San Francisco Chronicle and brainstorms what the next journalistic endeavor should look like. Nonetheless I think it’s a great example of what corporations should have on their intranets. What better way to facilitate learning than to have a free flowing forum of ideas? And what better way to innovate than to harness the power of your employees’ creativity?
It’s these tools that engage Gen Yers, but few organizations have made the transition to them. And honestly, we need to learn from newspapers — the longer you wait to change, the less likely you’ll be able to.