“I predict that the end of printed newspapers will happen in the time it takes for most people to upgrade their cell phones two more times,” Dilbert creator Scott Adams prognosticates. “The iPhone, and its inevitable copycats, (let’s call them iClones) are newspaper killers. When you have a web browser in your pocket, a printed newspaper is redundant.” Adams runs through all the reasons he believes cell phones will become a more popular medium for delivering news to consumers than paper, then suggests that this shift will be attended by a complete restructuring of the way newspaper companies deliver their product, envisioning “a hybrid of social voting, such as you see on web sites like [Reddit and Digg], but further filtered by human editors who weed out the redundant, the juvenile, and the stuff unsubstantiated by facts.”
With more room, he adds, for the better bloggers! “Every blogger (and cartoonist) would be self-syndicated,” Adams explains, “but newspapers wouldn’t print the same bloggers every day. They’d grab only the best writings of the day based on social voting and the newspaper’s own editorial opinions.” Boy, can you imagine the panicked rhetoric that would come pouring out of the NBCC’s rear guard if they actually had to compete directly with bloggers for the money accruing from whatever space will remain for literary criticism in this shiny new future? I can, actually: It’d sound a lot like their current complaints, only shriller. Fortunately for the “accredited” literati, there appear to be lucrative opportunities for them in the corporate bookselling arena—which, I’m given to understand, are already paying substantially better than newspaper reviewing.