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9. Conclusions

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Internet has changed a lot of things when it arrived on the market. It has transformed the way people work, how they inform themselves, how they shop, how they interact with each other, the list is endless. In Switzerland Internet has grown more and more important and its “technology, in the way it accesses and presents information, is changing the rules of publishing and news distribution in many ways”(84). In a country where media is very important and has a vital role Internet and new media are evolving into the most important access to information. It is not the case yet but it seems that every day there are more people that go online to look for news rather than on newspapers. The consequence is that advertising tends to follow the audience and slowly shifts to new media. In Switzerland these phenomenon are weaker that in most other countries in which Internet has become the clear number one. This should not overshadow the fact that newspapers have to undergo changes.

They have to because their role is so important in the Swiss democratic system. Quality information is a must in this country so people can form their opinion on the subjects that are voted regularly. Otherwise political campaigns can take over the information and people will be more likely to follow parties that have big budgets than what they think it is better for them. In 2010 the problem is that there have been a lot of changes in the information system. In particular for young people who are very often satisfied with the free offer found online. Other categories of persons as well are shifting to free news because the offer is large and easily accessible. The problem is that most of these free contents offered are quick news from agencies and mostly facts. There are very seldom commentaries or analysis. This leads to an impoverishment of the quality of information which is dangerous for the democracy.

Internet and new media have had a lot of influence on newspapers and these were mostly negative. The financial troubles newspapers went through can be attributed in large part to them. The business models that worked a few years back now has to be completely rethought because it is not the case anymore.

The free contents and free mentality have reshaped the media work and how they can operate. Right now this is a period of transition between business models. One that can work has been presented earlier in the work and it involves the melting of newspapers and new media. Internet can help journalists in this period because it offers a lot of new tools and the specialists of information can benefit from that. But looking ahead Internet can be a long-term answer as well.

For that to happen the government has a crucial role to play. The importance of a lot of pluralism in the media cannot be undermined. They have a lot of possibilities to help the traditional press and the recent decisions taken to increase to indirect aids to the press go in the right direction. But the role of the Swiss decision makers will be to ensure that journalism stays healthy in the future. Indirect aids will probably not be enough. Discussions have to take place for the transition that will happen in the future and then measures and regulations have to be put in place.

One important aspect to always keep in mind is that the media world is going through a phase of transition. Editors are constantly trying to find solutions in order to successfully use the new technology available for the purpose of information and at the same time trying to be profitable in this environment of free contents. A turn has been set recently to give indications of how the future may shape up. Rupert Murdoch launched at the beginning of February 2011 the first daily that can only be found on the iPad. Its name is The Daily and it proposes many features that will attract a lot of customers. First of all the price is very low, because one edition costs 0.14$ or it can be purchased for 40$ for a one year subscription. Secondly there will be a lot of contents, since every day there are going to be approximately hundred pages available. They will be organized just like in any other newspaper in different sections and there will be games like crossword puzzles or Sudoku. The technology allows readers to manipulate pictures or to see videos. Articles can be read by the device out loud and you can share the articles on Facebook or Twitter(85).

So there are a lot of new possibilities offered to consume the information. This can be the start of a new trend in the way media is offered in the future. In this example there is a compromise because the price asked for is low and at the same time it can generates revenues if the customer base becomes important and support the creation of quality contents. One of the question remaining is if enough people acquire electronic tablets so these editions can be offered only on them and not online or on paper. In all cases this is a clear indication of the direction information is going to and editors in Switzerland can reflect on that in the next few months based on how The Daily works.

What is sure is that the future of newspapers goes through new media. Newspapers will have to find a way to successfully transform the principal product from the print form to the electronic form. Contents are their most important asset and it should be used as such. Newspapers have to develop a way to make money with their electronic versions because right now it is not the case and it creates problems. If they are able to reinvent themselves and successfully go through the recent troubles they faced newspapers can get back to the more important role they once had, but with the help of new media.

84 Gunter, p.23

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