Take a Ride on the Infobahn; Newspaper Association of America Chairman Urges Newspapers of All Sizes to Get on the Information Superhighway

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Newspaper Association of America chairman urges newspapers of all sizes to get on the information superhighway

NEWSPAPERS DO NOT need to be large, diversified media companies to get ahead in the information game, Newspaper Association of America chairman Uzal Martz Jr. said in the opening address to this year's Nexpo conference in Atlanta.

But while newspapers keep their eyes on the future, they must also keep their "feet on the ground" and remember that their "strength remains in our newspaper heritage," the NAA chairman added.

Martz, who also is the publisher of the Pottsville (Pa.) Republican, said; "For the newspaper industry, the threat and opportunity of the digital explosion is captured in the term `new media' - a catchall label for everything from audiotex to movies-on-demand to computer delivery of all kinds of information."

He said there are those who believe that the extremely fast pace of the digital explosion will make newspapers obsolete.

But Martz added that he was "happy to report that more and more papers are seeing less threat and more opportunity in the change at hand."

A recent NAA survey of 650 U.S. newspapers found "tremendous growth" in electronic information services, he said.

Martz urged newspapers to adopt a four-lane Infobahn strategy in approaching the industry's electronic future.

This strategy, he explained, consists of four lanes a newspaper must travel in order to be successful in the electronic future: lane one is ink on paper; lane two, basic audiotex services; lane three, enhanced audiotex services; and lane four, online services.

"We all know the first lane well, for newspapers have engineered and refined ink on paper since Gutenberg invented the printing press in 1450," he said. …