This is called having one’s head buried in the sand very, very deep. In preceding articles, we have seen the extent of the shift (and the upcoming shrinkage) the western press is about to experience. And, in parallel, how much newspapers from emerging countries are booming.
Guess what? In a survey made by Zogby International for the World Editors Forum, (details on the Editors Weblog) 56% of editors think that most of the news will be free in the future, whether it is print, online or mobile. But the most amazing is this: only 48% Western European editors — they are supposed to be in struggling mode — believe that news will tend to be free, versus 61% of news executives from emerging markets such as Latin American, Asia, Eastern Europe, Russia, where paid press still enjoys great successes. Let’s grab the shovels and head for the sand dunes.
Another interesting finding of this report: almost nine editors out of ten think that newsroom integration is inevitable. What strikes me is there could even be a discussion about this integration question: a) we all know the business is massively shifting towards digital; b) most of the resistance comes from the oldest dead-tree personnel; c) therefore what a better instrument to dilute this resistance-to-change culture than blending the most conservatives forces of a newsroom into younger, fresher minds? Having said that, integration must be done with extreme care, taking into account many elements such as the size, the age of the structure and the people, the cooperation of senior news executives (most of them, yes, will have to be replaced in the process). I’m not saying it is simple, I’m saying it is inevitable and that it must be anticipated, planned right away.