Scott Adams wanted to make a topical comic about the recent iPhone 4G drama that’s been all the buzz recently and realized that his normal outlet (a newspaper) has a propagation delay of about a month.
“I worried that the story would become stale before my comics would work through the pipeline.”
His only option in order to be topical and current was to post his comic online.
“I think the soonest I can get something published is in about a month, perhaps a bit sooner…”
Wow. I don’t believe Scott meant to take a swipe at newspapers per se, but his comment shows just how little has changed in that business despite their use of computers for composition and wire feeds via data circuits.
Granted, Scott is not (nor am I) an investigative journalist, but when Scott, I and others can create content, publish it, be indexed by a search engine and be seen by millions (Scott, not me) in a matter of minutes – the value of traditional outlets for media, news and commentary plummets quickly. Since this is nothing new, the real story here is that after years of TV and newspapers being pummeled by the new and recent content outlets on the Internet they still can not refine the process for something as simple as publishing a comic.
If Matt Stone and Trey Parker can accomplish the seemingly Herculean feat of being topical in their weekly animated South Park episodes, why can’t a newspaper do the same for a three-panel comic?
I believe this underscores the challenges and difficulties that entrenched media outlets face. They have very old and set ways of performing a function with very narrow and short-term views interested only in placing controls and locks on the dwindling amount of content they still create.
Moreover, in order to keep up with rapidly changing times the internal resistance is too great to overcome and inevitably the changes that are made are incremental and often lagging behind the younger companies that “get it”.