When old media meets new

Five hundred and fifty years since Gutenberg first began work on that Bible, the printing press is under its worst threat since television. The good news is it’s never been a better time to be a newspaper publisher. The bad news is you need to adapt or die.

New media encroaches on all old media territory. Suddenly–before you can say “Yahoo!”–newspapers find themselves competing with the CNNs and Matt Drudges of the world. All that’s fit to print is now all that’s free to hyperlink.

In Malaysia, The Star was the first out the gate when it launched a Web edition in June 1995. Since then, firmly entrenched print players such as the Utusan Group, the New Straits Times Group and smaller Chinese newspapers have jumped onto the online bandwagon.

But in the four years since, progress can only be described as excruciatingly slow. Most newspapers still cannibalize their print stories to turn into byte chunks with little, if any, exclusive content for the Net reader. Advertisers aren’t biting onto e-commerce tie-ups either. And editors and journalists have yet to figure out their new globalized roles.
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