Corrections or additions?
Between the Lines
This column by Richard K. Rein was prepared for the November 29,
2000 edition of
U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Someone asked us the other day where we thought our
industry was headed. While posing that global question to people who
spend most of their waking hours hunkered in front of dimly lit
screens may seem a little misguided, we nevertheless came up with
an answer: Nowhere. What you see now in terms of information
processing, and circulation is pretty much what you will see in the
future — at least in terms of community-based, news organizations
such as U.S. 1. The forms that this information takes may change,
and the means by which it is distributed will most surely change —
the Internet springs to mind, of course. And some present day
may stay up with the changes and others may not.
But we think the basic components of the industry — collecting
and disseminating useful business and entertainment news and listings
— is likely to remain pretty much the same as you see it today.
Community journalism, we told our questioner, is not the
industry or genomics. We are not on the threshold of some new brave
That answer came before we read Doug Dixon’s excellent story that
begins on page 49 of this issue. As Dixon explains in patient detail,
the combination of wireless technology, handheld devices such as Palm
Pilots and cell phones, the Internet, and Global Positioning Systems
paves the way for M-commerce: mobile commerce.
In this brave new world, you could walk into a strange town, log your
Palm onto the Internet, and get the name of the nearest Japanese
and also a map showing how to get there from where you are. Needless
to say, advertisers will be offered all sorts of
to "participate" in this technology. Maybe this won’t add
to the net wealth, but we can certainly see it becoming yet another
medium — print, radio, cable, Internet, and mobile.
All of which ought to make us in the print world a little nervous.
Here at U.S. 1 we like to edit our journal in such a way that it makes
as much sense to a guy who steps off the train from New York for the
first time as it does to a life-long resident. What happens if the
guy from New York can find out what’s happening on Nassau Street just
as quickly by tapping a few keys on his cell phone? And what if those
money-saving coupons now printed in the paper are transmitted to every
mobile phone that passes within a half mile of the restaurant?
In that future shock world what use will anyone have for our little
newspaper? We thought of a few enduring qualities of our newsprint
you can tear out a page and give it to him.
a tunnel or you are in a basement.
weapon if you are ever accosted on the street.
it gets wet — you may have to allow it to dry, first. And in a
rainstorm it will double as an umbrella. And that’s certain: In our
industry it’s going to rain from time to time.
Corrections or additions?
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— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.