Press Ombudsman Professor John Horgan addressed the DCU Journalism Society last night. In his address to the inaugural meeting of the society, Professor Horgan had some interesting thoughts on new media and the internet.
"Their business model is in serious trouble" said Professor Horgan of the Irish newspaper industry.
Asked where he sees Irish media being in five years time, Professor Horgan stated; "I think newspapers will probably continue. They’ve [gone through] all sorts of threats to their existence [before]. They will probably be smaller and more expensive. The web will have mushroomed but it will also have taken some kind of shape. Just as the 18th and 19th century; newspapers were pretty chaotic. Anybody could have their say and they pretty well did.
I have a strong view on the web actually. It is not a medium of mass communication in the way that a newspaper, radio or TV station is; it is a place where lots of people go to talk to other people on a one-to-one basis. There are things developing. You have a very interesting thing in Holland; where there are two web-based publications that are regular publications. They have applied to join to Dutch Press Council although they don’t appear on paper at all.
There will be a climate of regulation, perhaps self-regulation, simply because whatever you publish you do want to be read and the best way of being read is if people trust what you’re saying.
We will have lost a few provincial papers I suspect. I think the national papers will survive but they will probably look quite different, have a greater web presence and a more integrated business model between the web side of things and the print side of things."