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MATT HERRING: NET(WORK) EFFECTS

December 30, 2009

Matt Herring illustrated a thought-provoking article for the Economist that draws parallels between the effect of the telegraph in the 1800’s and the Internet today on the health of the newspaper industry.

Matt Herring: Inventions

To the press the electric telegraph is an invention of immense value,” one journalist observed in 1868. “It gives you the news before the circumstances have had time to alter. The press is enabled to lay it fresh before the reader like a steak hot from the gridiron, instead of being cooled and rendered flavourless by a slow journey from a distant kitchen.”

Matt Herring: Newspaper and Digital Media

The internet may kill newspapers; but it is not clear if that matters. For society, what matters is that people should have access to news, not that it should be delivered through any particular medium; and, for the consumer, the faster it travels, the better. The telegraph hastened the speed at which news was disseminated. So does the internet.

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