Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

April 1, 2010


Host: Ted Simons

Tablet computers


  • As Apple prepares for the release of its new tablet computer, the iPad, ASU journalism professor Tim McGuire shares his thoughts about how the device may impact the way we get our news.
Guests:
  • Tim McGuire - ASU journalism professor
Keywords: technology, print journalism,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Here to talk about the iPad and its potential impact on nones and magazines is Tim McGuire, a ASU journalism professor. Is the iPad a savior of print journalism?

Tim McGuire: It's a significant thing because you now have a machines that going to be mobile. It's going to allow people to merge their information and their entertainment habits. You can play a game one minute, watch a movie the next. Read "Time Magazine' the next and it will create capabilities that print has been lusting for for some time. An interactivity they haven't had. I've seen one demonstration with three-dimensional ads where you can make a car turn around. It's a big deal.

Ted Simons: I'm still trying to get used to the iPad. The -- the idea that you can take it anywhere you want. Does journalism -- is journalism ready for this new platform? This new venue?

Tim McGuire: I think, in fact, it's past ready. I think the print version is clearly under attack business Wyoming and one of the reasons -- business wise and one of the reasons, you and I have gone through a lot of reasons that business is in trouble. But it's all about advertising and one of the big problems is advertising in a newspaper is not targeted, it doesn't reach the -- the exactly intended audience, and it's very flat. It's one or two dimensional. Advertising will become multidimensional. Video, audio. You -- many demonstrations are being done. The advertising is just going to blow your mind.

Ted Simons: Is this the kind of thing that you have a Wall Street app and tap it and here comes the ads whether you want them to or not. Or here they come if you're interested?

Tim McGuire: All the demonstrations I've seen, there's a great demonstration that your viewers can Google. And sports illustrated have a great demonstration they can go and Google. And you can go page by page and there's pullouts where you can become more interactive and you can click on a video and you could play a game within that story to perhaps solve the legislative problem you were just talking about. There will be a high -- high degrees of interactivity and again, you said it, but the mobility is just really crucial. One of the things that newspaper people said for a long time, is you can't take the computer into the smallest room in the house. Well, the fact is, you could take the iPad into the smallest room in the house. That's a big deal.

Ted Simons: Yeah.

Tim McGuire: That mobility, having the ability to access any kind of information
and entertainment you want whenever you want, big deal.

Ted Simons: Maybe not a savior for the print industry, but something to be aware of and take charge of and try to get ahead of the parade a little bit.

Tim McGuire: I think it's going-to-going to be a savior for some big companies. I think time-Warner, I think Murdoch and New York times and some of the big players will develop the capabilities they need. I don't see a -- the star Tribune in Minneapolis, being able it play on that kind of scale and that's why I don't think it's the savior of print.

Ted Simons: The blogosphere is huge and there's so much attention. How about the little guy? Can the little guy survive ?

Tim McGuire: I think there's an inevitable future for the little guy, in that you're going to see people aggregating blogs. You already are. They offer you 1500 blogs and selling them and getting revenue for them. And you can select what you want. Aggregators are going to start to get in what -- with what you call the little guy. In an iPad environment, if that tablet environment was going to win, then the little guy would be in trouble. I just did another thing with my language that's interesting. I try to talk about tablets and not the iPad. The iPad is still a pretty closed kind of thing. Steve jobs believes in proprietary approaches and so you're only going to be able to order your sports illustrated from iTunes. That's a question whether or not that's going to be the answer and so you're going to soon see tablets that will compete with the apple iPad, because they will be more open.

Ted Simons: The idea -- and I -- in reading about the iPad announcement and the future of journalism, I thought one blogger actually had an interesting idea in that the future of journalism will not be the iPad. The future of journalism was on display when the iPad was announced because there was live blogging and three hours after jobs got finished speaking, it was already old news.

Tim McGuire: There's no question, the big argument right now in circles where people think about these kind of issues is are the big players done cooked, gone? And replaced by what you might call citizen journalism? Active amateur kind of environment. It's called the pro-am kind of movement. I think eventually pro-am is going to merge.

Ted Simons: Interesting. We've got some video coming up here, I hope, which will show the iPad. It looks and seems to act a lot like a iPhone. A big version of an iPhone. Again, advertising revenue possibilities, are there newspaper content possibilities, are there -- we talked about how it might help the bigger newspapers and magazines, here's a question: Could this kill a lot of the newspapers out there? This kind of technology?

Tim McGuire: It certainly could. There's going to be eventually be a technology that's -- that speeds up the demise of print. This could be it. This could be the substitute that -- oh, hey, this feels like a newspaper. It gives me the mobility that I needed from a newspaper. It gives me interactivity I could have never gotten. Something like this could. The caution I would give you is I wouldn't go out and buy a lot of apple stock here, because this thing is going to remain very fluid. The rate of invention here is stunning and so all of these things are going to build on the shoulders of others. And so we haven't seen the answer yet and yet as a society, and as media critics, we want to say -- that's it! That's the answer. Let's cool it on the answer.

Ted Simons: All right, Tim, always a pleasure. Good to have you here. Coming up, Arizona lawmakers give the governor the go ahead to sue the feds over the healthcare reform act and an update on other goings on this week. And if you would like to watch tonight''s show again, it's easy. Go to our website. azpbs.org. azpbs.org/horizon. That's it for now. Thank you for joining us. You have a great evening.

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