Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Apple Executive Tells Newspapers about New Media

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Apple Executive Tells Newspapers about New Media

Article excerpt

IN HIS KEYNOTE address to the Digital 95 conference in San Francisco, Chris Gulker, newly appointed manager for Apple Computer, urged newspapers to drop the old models of media production in their efforts to take content online.

He also argued that, even as online services become faster and more compelling, newspapers will hold their own in the mix of media choices available to consumers.

"The newspaper is there because it does some things better than any other media," said Gulker. "One of the highest, most developed, technologies on the planet is the front page of the newspaper."

Less than two days before he spoke, Gulker had held the position of director of development at the San Francisco Examiner, where he had launched the Electric Examiner, the paper's World Wide Web edition on Internet.

"New media is not a new phenomenon in this country," said Gulker.

He likened the development of interactive media to that of telephony and radio, in that, in each case, innovators failed at first to put the technology to its best use.

Gulker gave, as an example, Alexander Graham Bell, who envisioned the telephone as a broadcast medium and promoted the invention as a means of transmitting symphony performances.

Likewise, he cited Marconi's narrow view of radio, which held that it would be used almost exclusively to contact ships in distress at sea.

Similarly, current text-dominated models for interactive newspapers are wrong, said Gulker. He spoofed the idea of a TV newspaper that consists of videotaped text and a disembodied hand turning the page.

Such an approach amounts to "shovelware", Gulker said, in that newspaper content is shoveled into a new medium.

"New media has new potentials; new media will occupy new niches in people's consciousness in the future," Gulker said.

"And that's something we have to prepare ourselves for, and I think that's a very hard assignment ... when you've trained as I have as a lifetime journalist, a lifetime still photographer, to take all those lessons and then say, `Ok, I'm putting these all in suspension right now. I'm aware that a new medium is coming, and I'm going to have to adjust to it, rather than the other way round, if I am to succeed there."

"The real paradigm shift isn't going to be when we move to computers; it's when our readers move to computers. And the real paradigm shift is going to be when ... …

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