Wow. This is going to be a short blog post because you shouldn’t be reading me, you should be reading Mark Potts.
Mark’s A Vision for the Future of Newspapers — 20 Years Ago is one of the most insightful pieces you will read on the history of news online and the opportunities blown by newspapers.
He tells the story of a memo Post Managing Editor Robert G. Kaiser wrote 20 years ago after returning from an Apple-sponsored conference in Japan. Awestruck by the upcoming developments he heard forecast (nearly all of which are old hat by now), Kaiser wrote:
None of this is science fiction — it’s just around the corner.
The memo, which quaintly notes “Hook” as a movie viewers might want to see, and Mark’s reflection 20 years later provide insights into a sincere effort by a great newspaper to get ahead of the digital curve that it clearly saw coming.
Mark also reflects on the industry’s failure at digital efforts:
The history of the past 20 years of newspapers and digital media is, unfortunately, a legacy of timidity, missed opportunities and a general lack of imagination and guts to leap into the future.
But stop reading me. Go read Mark. I can’t remember the last piece I read that was this good about the history of digital news.