Clive James, in an interview for the June edition The Word, is asked about his website CliveJames.com . When is asked,“assuming this is the future, how do you think someone like you will get paid?”, James replies that he thinks that “you don’t”. There are, he says, “going to be some brilliant young people who aren’t going to eat very well. But the same question is facing the whole of the printed media.”
“The papers are the ones that are in trouble – the things I want from the papers will go into the magazines. How much of the paper do I read? How much of the paper do you read? You might make two or three stops through the whole paper, and whole sections get thrown away, right? So the question of ‘why should newspapers survive?’ starts to pop up.”
The question of “why should newspapers survive” is one which has been popping up increasing frequency over the last decade or so. It’s a a good question to which I really do not have a satisfactory answer, except to say, as John Naughton has said recently in his blog, that the only papers I would care to see surviving are those which add value to that which we already know.
James, in the same interview, highlights an area where he believes the web fails:
“There are things the web can’t do. It’s very bad at people collaborating together to produce a rich result; it’s much better at individuality.”
In last Sunday’s Observer column, John Naughton expressed ” scepticism about the prospects of something this complex becoming a mainstream”, but that’s not to say that Google Wave might not prove to be the “ useful tool for collaborating together to produce a rich results ” that James has said does not exist at the moment.
The Word is not available online.