Editorial: The future starts now

Last updated 05:00 08/12/2012

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The subjects of our main feature article today are three greying chaps who've spent their lives working in newspapers. This newspaper, as it happens.

And our shift to new premises has given them an opportunity to reflect on the changes in our industry over the last 30-odd years.

And the changes have been immense.

Thirty years ago the internet existed in some form. Somewhere. But Facebook didn't. And neither did Twitter. Smart phones were exceptionally dumb.

So where will we be in another 30 years?

Who knows. Such is the speed of change that one, two and three years is far enough out just now.

What we do know is our loyal readers still love getting their newspaper. It's more than a product. It's a part of their day. There is a sense of ownership. We who work here are but the guardians of that.

But times are changing, and there's a shift in readership. Computers, tablets and smart phones have brought about a new breed of reader. These people want regular updates of news as it happens, and they like interacting with what they read.

Now they can leave comments on stories at any time. They can talk to us, and other readers, on our Facebook page. In real time.

A recent armed offenders callout saw someone at the heart of the incident contact us directly to clarify some points. While the incident was still happening.

People send us emails and tweets. We don't get many letters any more.

Nowadays we take and upload video footage and run photo galleries.

While our print readership is still strong it is being supplemented by this digital world. We now have about 4500 individuals who visit us each day online, and when news is breaking this can jump to 10,000.

Throughout New Zealand, more people access their news via smartphones than they do computers and tablets. And they are not just young people.

So who knows what our print/digital mix will be in years to come?

Who knows what new technology will be next?

What we at the Herald believe though, is that we'll still be gathering and delivering news and advertising into the foreseeable future.

We wouldn't have gone to all this trouble moving buildings if we didn't.

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- The Timaru Herald

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