Abstract - The Information Society 33(2)


Innovators and innovated: Newspapers and the postdigital future beyond the “death of print”

John O'Sullivan, Leopoldina Fortunati, Sakari Taipale & Kevin Barnhurst

Along with other cultural organizations, newspapers, through waves of digital disruption, have become subject to a dominant narrative of crisis. But newspapers have long participated in change. A constructivist approach, qualified by consideration of media materiality, draws attention to diverse but essential processes of innovation around them. We see a contraflow of migration from digital to print, opening up a shared media space; bonding strategies are bringing multimedia to ink on paper, while bridging via boundary objects such as QR (Quick Response) codes are connecting the two. Among other initiatives, development of automation of news production and experiments with transparency are further evidence of an active embrace of change by newspapers that calls into question the discourse on their demise. This analysis inductively develops a nuanced account of the role of the newspaper as an object and as an institution. It suggests a hybrid, multifaceted, enduring presence of print in the complex media ecology of the future.


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