I was cruising Comixpedia this morning and as usual, Xerexes had a link to an article about Web comics, which had links in it to other articles about Web comics and before I knew it an hour was gone. The sacrifices I make for you people.
Anyway, the main article that started my decent into another wasted day at work was by Justin Fox, the economy columnist for Time Magazine. He didn't seem to be much of a Web comic aficionado himself but offered some insight as to what effect Web comics could have on the traditional newspaper economically. In short: bad things.
Now this is not the first time some one has talked about how the Internet is going to be the downfall of the newspaper industry as we know it. People have been saying this ever since the Net came around. There's just something about the convenience of getting your news and your porn at the same place that the local paper just can't compete with.
I'm currently working at a paper; it's not my chosen profession but rather a way to get myself through college. I've said it before and I'll say it again, journalists fear the Net. They know we're coming to eat them and take their jobs.
I feel bad for my newspaper friends though. They want to change, to adapt, and to become at one with the future. They're in a tough spot though. They are spread out between 3 or 4 generations right now and that's really not fair for them. You just can't please that many people with that many different needs. On the one hand you have people who want the same paper the same way it's been since we won WWII and on the other you have people who want new, easy and preferably free ways to get their information and really neither side is willing to change.
You ever try to get you're grandma on the Internet? Yeah, that's a major chunk of the paper's predicament right there. When was the last time you read the local paper, all the way through? There's the other part right there. Paper's can't evolve to please one demographic without losing another.
So where do Web comic fit in all this? As a completely Web-based media anyone who isn't willing to keep up, doesn't have to. They were never part of the audience so their absence goes unnoticed. If Web comic readership were to sudden drop people would take notice but the number, for the most part, just climb.
I know I've made some generalizations in this piece and I'm OK with that. If you personally aren't the problem I'm sure you know people that are. The main point I'm trying to make is, be nice to the newspaper. They've got it rough. Send them a link to your favorite Web-comic. That'll cheer them up.