American President-elect Barack Obama was featured on the cover of nearly every major newspaper in the world last week following his election win.
History-hungry folks cued up for hours in the days following, in order to purchase newspapers as remembrances of the historic occasion. But more enterprising collectors found they were able to resell them on eBay for up to $400.
Does this mark the case for their increased relevance or, as TechDirt suggest, a flash-in-the-pan trend of souvenir-driven media consumption?
Following last week’s historic election of Barack Obama, there was a rush to buy up paper newspapers announcing the news, with the idea being that those newspapers would be quite valuable. In fact, some newspapers were quickly being resold on eBay for up to $400 — and many buyers plan to preserve the papers, hoping they’ll be worth even more in the future. Of course, it sounds as though many newspaper publishers got exactly the wrong lesson from this. Some publishers celebrated the rush to buy newspapers as evidence that newspapers were still relevant and that in “big events” people still turned to print papers. Except, that’s not true. Publishers who believe that are deluding themselves. People got the actual news from the internet and TV. The newspapers just represent a souvenir of the event — not the place to turn to for news about it. Newspapers are never going to figure out how to survive if they take the wrong lessons out of this. People bought newspapers because they could be saved (and resold) — not because they were suddenly relevant.