Required reading: Tim Berners Lee on The Drum
Today saw one of our favourite media, public relations and marketing digests publish the second part of an intriguing interview with a guy who has changed the way we live beyond all recognition. As such we thought it best to draw some attention to the dialogue in question.
Sir Tim Berners Lee invented the World Wide Web, and in his conversation with The Drum shares a few thoughts on the modern industries of technology and communication. Needless to say, no publication in the world would have him round for tea without asking for his digital predictions, though there are plenty of other interesting aspects to the online article soothsaying aside, namely his ideas on the role of newspapers in the 21st Century.
And that’s not just because they match our own, with dailies and weeklies still having a huge part to play in the current affairs landscape, retaining plenty of cultural currency. It might not feel like it, given the decline in print sales, but as we have mused on time and again, the overwhelming amount of information now posted online every minute of every day seems to be teetering on the bring of saturation point, leaving many consumers with something of a quandary- who, exactly, should they trust?
The obvious answer, according to Berners Lee, lies with the professionals. “[W]henever someone comes to me, worried about a mass of junk on the web, my answer is ‘you need a newspaper’. You may not get it on paper, but you need its functions. You need editors, writers, researchers,” he explained to the interviewer. “People will get used to paying for newspapers on the web eventually.”
It’s certainly a logical standpoint, and it’s difficult to imagine a world without the big guns filing copy. Yet perpetual bad news regarding circulation figures poses another difficult question. Can the institutions charged with responsibilities relating to news delivery hold out long enough for the public to about turn on its demand for current affairs without cost, particularly in light of an overwhelmingly damaging 12 months for UK journalism’s biggest selling outlets?