Listen up. Newspapers are NOT going to die or be “replaced” — not ever.

Had an interesting pow wow with Ben Hammersely, “special prototypes guy” (his title) at the Guardian Unlimited. We shared the panel at the Goldman Sachs Global Leaders Conference. The conference took place in the 40/50/60 storey, green tinted mirror skyscraper that is Goldman Sachs’ headquarters in downtown Manhattan. Its the same building where the movie Devil’s Advocate was shot, and where Al Pacino eventually burst into flames and revealed himself as the devil in front of Keanu and Charlize to take over the world. So, as you can imagine, I was rather reticent to enter the building :-)

Now I am not playing Devil’s Advocate when I say: that after a discussion with Ben, I have renewed confidence to say that newspapers are going to continue for a long time, and far into the forseeable future, if not for time immemorial. It’s something I have been thinking about for a long time and it is something that he believes too.

Sure, some readers may migrate online, some may never open a newspaper ever, some readers may be both online and newspaper readers at the same time, or exclusively paper readers. But newspapers will continue as a niche personal preference for readers — new and old — who want their content in this format.

We hear so much about content being platform agnostic and that news will be consumed on a variety of different platforms, from websites, cellphones, PDAs, Ipods you name it…. the newspaper will continue to COEXIST as a content platform of personal choice and preference. Along with the others.

Why not? Not all people are technical and gadget tyrants who want their news on the go, on demand, in their back pocket in their RSS feed reader etc etc… and I speak as someone who is somewhat of a technical and gadget tyrant, myself.

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