Brokaw: Washington Post Print Paper 'Probably' Dead in 10 Years

     When Tom Brokaw, an old-time mainstream media figure in his own right, says he thinks print newspapers won’t be around in 10 years, that’s probably not a good sign for the industry. (Click for audio.)


     The former NBC “Nightly News” anchor appeared at the Sixth & I Synagogue in Washington, D.C. on November 19 to promote his new book, “Boom!”  Brokaw said he envisioned a major newspaper going completely digital in 10 years.


     “I was at The Washington Post earlier today,” Brokaw said. “And in the lobby they’ve got a wonderful graphic describing how the printing press works and where it is … 75,000 copies an hour it can turn out. Its last run is at 2:15 in the morning and [has] an automatic paper roll that comes when they run out of paper and the ink is recharge and I looked at all that and I thought – ‘Ten years from now, will it be here?’ I don’t know. Probably … if you would do a hardcore analysis – probably not. It’ll be probably digital 10 years from now.”


    Brokaw referred to how the younger generations rely solely on digital forms media to get their information.


     “You talk to them about the tactile experience at the newspaper and they look at you, and it’s like ‘Man, what planet were you born on?’” Brokaw quipped.


     However, Brokaw said there will still be a demand for journalists to interpret information.


     “There will never not be a need for professional people to take complicated information, put it into a form that viewers and readers will need to know and want to understand,” he said.


     According to Editor & Publisher, daily circulation at The Washington Post was down 3.2 percent to 635,087 and Sunday was down 3.9 percent to 894,428 for the six-month period ending September 2007.