That’s the inference, at least, from his post today (The death of daily) berating “outmoded ... dailiness” as “staleness.”
“Once it’s out, it’s over,” Jeff writes.
That’s true, of course, but only if your view of value is restricted to event-driven facts. I’ve been arguing for years that newspapers – yes, printed, daily newspapers – have a good long horizon on the value curve if they shift their focus to the value they already do best: summary, briefings, orientation, authentication. If a printed product did that well, the fact that it’s a once-a-day product would be a strength: a starting point, presumably first thing in the morning, which helped readers orient their day and prepare to parse and interpret all the fact-clotted data that would wash over the ceaselessly for the rest of the day.
The newspaper thus becomes a tool for managing the rest of your information habit. It can help you sift and sort and filter the vast river of news that flows past constantly, effervescently through the day. Think of it as a cup, or instruction manual, for getting a drink of water from a firehose.
Society is not a mere assemblage of individuals each acting purely on self-interested motivation. We are a collectivist, social species, and we need a common vocabulary, a shared starting point, at least, from which to launch our individualist endeavors. We can’t all check the accuracy or authenticity of every data point that floats by. There is a robust, profitable business here for the entity that provides those services.
Remember, even in cities with great libraries, people still bought encyclopedias. You don’t always need the whole library; indeed, it can overwhelm or bewilder, and leave you more confused than when you started.
Data gets stale; insight doesn’t.
I had a nagging feeling I'd said more or less this same thing once before. (That happens to me more and more these days.) I searched this blog and found this, from May 2006.
I'm reminded again that most choices facing us in this new era inolve AND rather than OR. We need to do everything Jarvis is talking about and sustain our central role in provising context, perspective and authentication:
Yes, we know you’re awash in data and information. You wake up to NPR, listen to talk radio on your commute, surf the web when you should be working and see CNN in the lunchroom. You’ve been titillated by blogs and email alerts all day; friends and coworkers have sent you IMs about the latest item to tickle their fancy. You’ve got books and podcasts cued oup on your iPod. So what can we possibly do for you?How about this: I’ll ask a hundred of the smartest people I know to spend all day sorting through that information, figuring out which of the blog items you saw is accurate enough to deserve your attention, comparing what the Secretary of Defense said on TV with what he told you last month, figuring what’s likely to happen tomorrow on that big story that dominated CNN. They’ll organize it in concise and manageable dimensions, collect it all in one spot and deliver it to your doorstep first thing in the morning to help you organize and orient your coming day.
In the meantime, we’ll use all those other channels as well to keep you posted on what we learn about the latest developments, and to deliver the information – chiefly local – that we alone have bothered to check out and discover.