June 29, 2008 1:10 PM
The environment and newspapers
Blogger Jill Zimon makes a good point in response to my column about "individuated newspapers." "It's my sense that one reason people don't subscribe to newspapers is in fact because of the use of paper, in the same way some vegetarians don't eat meat: it's a lifestyle choice."
Jill went on to say: "Maybe the numbers are few, but I'd also analogize to the choice between hybrid, hydrogen (did you read about Honda's Clarity?) or gas-powered cars.
"Anyway - just a thought. I don't know what the threshold is re: when will people buy something in print versus in bytes, but I'm sure someone somewhere is working on figuring that out."
This is a real issue. But I think individuated newspapers address this concern because I think we would be delivering a smaller product, with less "waste" for the user. For example, there may be people who would never receive any sports news. Or classifieds. Also, the idea of an individuated newspaper doesn't depend on the use of print. But it does still involve editors putting together a product, whether it's delivered to a "Minority Report" type portable screen or to some other device we've not yet seen. But even if it means paper, it may mean less paper because the product will be customized for the user so content they don't want won't end up on the living room floor.