In the Internet age when a mobile phone or twitter post can scoop the best journalism organization in the world--it was a Pakistani tweet that let the world know, as it happened, Osama Bin Ladin had been found not CNN--every professional journalism organization is faced with the same problem: how to deliver an editorial product that commands readership at the same time provide a return on investment that management (shareholders) expect.
One unspoken benefit of an all-digital publishing strategy for us or anyone for that matter, is the possibility that we can capture more of your attention during a given day because you can access EE Times anytime, anywhere (computer/tablet/phone).
If we do it properly, we can become an even more valuable information source in the next 40 years than we've been in the past 40 years. We become more 3D compared with print's 2D world. We're not there yet, but given our never-dull digital evolution since 1994, I have no doubt we'll all get there together, and we'll do it with your guidance and feedback.
What a great post, Alex. Whilst there are benefits, particularly environmental, in the move away from print, your article highlights the key problem: readers like print. In fact when your company, UBM, recently surveyed engineers around the world you found that EVERY age group expressed a preference for print publications over publication websites when developing new design ideas.
The real issue is that advertisers have lost interest in print, and budgets have switched to online. Whilst there are huge benefits to online advertising, I suspect it's the "accountability" that is driving the change. When asked what an advertising campaign produced, marketing managers can offer spreadsheets showing detailed analysis of clicks. Understanding whether print campaigns work requires research - too much work for many companies.
But this is the reality of today, and I'm sure we will see many other print titles close over the next three months. I just hope that the websites that succeed will do so because they're "the best darn must-read site on the planet" rather than being built round the Google algorithms in a cynical ploy to drive traffic by optimising for search rather than users.
I'd like to address this comment: "I personally believe we are in a post-literate society. It's just that no one has solved the Hulu voodoo economics equation for the tech sector. Videos remain expensive and time-consuming to create."
If I understand this comment correctly, it's saying that "nobody reads anymore" and would rather watch videos. If that's the intended meaning, I quite disagree because the problem with videos for technical information is that they're way too slow to access and review. A well-designed print article -- whether it's on paper or on Wikipedia -- has the advantage that you can quickly scan it. You can glance at the table of contents and figures and very quickly find (or re-find) the 5% of the article that you actually need. You can also search for words or phrases.
With video you're slowly plodding through one minute after another waiting for the 15 seconds you actually need. Videos are great if you're in the mood for a good, long story ("pass the bottle"), but if you're trying to find specific technical information IMO they're totally the wrong medium and a waste of resources.