Monday, March 16, 2009
Future of the News
An interesting posting on the Wired Blog discusses how the New York Times is working to create a digital future for the news through research and development. Recently, Nick Bilton, design integration editor and user interface specialist at the New York Times R&D lab spoke about the efforts at the Emerging Technologies conference. We also had the opportunity to see him present about a month ago at the O’Reilly Tools of Change conference and were intrigued and impressed by the technologies in development. Some of the most interesting technologies include a prototype called "CustomTimes" which is a digital version of the traditional newspaper machine that will allow users to select certain content to be printed via print on demand, “smart content” which keeps track of the stories that users have read across their devices so that when a user picks up their mobile device a story that was read on their computer appears grayed out, and a Times mobile application that can sense when a user is traveling in their car and delivers the news in audio format. While these advanced technologies are likely five to ten years away, the transition to digital is inevitable for the newspaper industry, and as Bilton points out the newspapers and news organizations can still thrive in digital format, “Paper is dying, but it's just a device. Replacing it with pixels is a better experience.” What can other industries, such as course materials, learn from the shift to digital in the newspaper industry?