Warning Zimbabwe: As the World`s Oldest Newspaper Shuts Down!

By Editor

After nearly 280 years in print , the world`s oldest newspaper, will be breathing its last in December this year as management unanimously agreed that the print industry is no longer a sustainable business, while enhancing their digital presence.

“Lloyd’s List, which was founded in 1734, announced Wednesday it will cease its print edition in December. The newspaper is widely regarded as the leading source of news and analysis for the global shipping market.

The newspaper’s management cited declining interest in the print edition as the impetus behind the move. A recent survey of Lloyd’s List readers found that less than 2 percent relied solely on the print edition for access to the newspaper’s content.”

This was the news the world woke up to recently and I knew that surely technology is a force that no one should dare fight against.

Im not a prophet of doom, I would hate to be sending messages that will send shivers down the spine of many, but on the flip side its better to prepare now for the imminent, inevitable disruptive technology that is set to force change globally.

This is the “creative distruction” that will get Chief Executive Officers and their Chief Technology Officers rewarded or sadly, packing!

Like Morphius in the movie, The Matrix, I said “Its coming home”, when I read from Cnet that even the newspapers, which have proved to endure the technological age are also succumbing to pressure.
[c attid=”6232″ aption id=”attachment_6232″ align=”alignright” width=”300″]Vendor in Harare sells newspapers Vendor in Harare sells newspapers[/caption]

Internationally, I can safely say the computer magazine world that I have been closely following has just but died. The popular PCWorld stopped publications in 2008, computer shopper and laptop followed suit in 2009 and then the greatest magazine of all time PC Mag finally breathed its last too in December 2009 from 1982.
Nintendo and info world have also confirmed that their publications will cease this December.

Other none technological popular print magazines like Newsweek, US News & World Report Seattle Post-Intelligencer stopped publishing a print edition in March 2009, with the Christian Science Monitor following suit.

PC Format seems to be the only big name still standing in the print edition of all technology magazines that ever existed.

During a talk with a director of TechnoMag, Sir Wilson Mtetwa, we agreed that this could be the last decade newspapers will hit hard the streets of Zimbabwe at the rate they are today. In not more than 10 years to be precise, we predicted the newspaper and print media will have migrated completely to digital.

Im fully aware that some people will always argue that this is Zimbabwe and technology will not move that fast, well I agree and beg to disagree.

Look at how many people today are using whatsapp as a viable instant messaging application, when was the last time you bought SMS airtime to refill texts. Few months back it was the “in” thing.

Today more than 4 billion users are already using whatsapp and Zimbabwe in the last five years rose from a mere 12% to 99% mobile penetration buoyed by a 34% mobile penetration. This major shift was reached way before the completion of major fibre optic installations.

If this drastic shift can be attained only in less than 5years then surely this disruptive technology has dawned too on the conventional companies world over and Zimbabwe can not be spared.

Unfortunately the media industry is succumbing to huge disruption right now, with the advent of social networking and the ubiquity of the internet, the red lights are flashing and its really more about the move, decision makers take now that really matters.

Few years back people used to wait for the main news sessions or fresh copy of the paper for breaking news but today, the newspapers are now saying it last, though they still play a vital position to confirm a “rumoured” position.

Instead of seeing technology as a threat, Newspapers should start adapting to the new digital trends or risk extinction. When technological gales start howling it’s a case of adapt or die as every day draws us to a new world order.

How best can executives begin to embrace a plethora of ways to do news the digital way. The internet offers millions of options but it is not just about knowing the options but rather the expertise to apply the knowledge.

Facebook and twitter alone are just basic fundementals, they will not bring any magic to an organisation. How you post, interact and engage on all platforms matters much more than having a social network presence.

Properly defining the new revenue streams online will be key to every enterprise and lack of exposure to these will give you hundreds of thousands of followers, alas, with an empty bank account.

Are we ready to start shifting towards the new world order or we shall wait for bureaucracy arrogance and short sighted visions to get the best of us.

Needless to say someone was quoted saying “the printed paper does a better job at broadening my world and getting me interested in other topics that I might not have otherwise focused on. Some of it’s due to placement on a printed paper. When it’s online I probably read more sports and entertainment. When it’s printed I tend to read more articles I probably *should* read.”

I did not say we do not need the newspapers and print publications, im only saying are we still going to need them ten more years down the line? Its all about a digital vision that really matters now, before retrenchment.

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