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Microsoft ventures into digital news delivery
As journalism's digerati and digital wannabes gathered in Atlanta in late June for a week of strategy sessions and a look at the latest and greatest hardware and software, the world's richest man was hiring journalists for his new news service.
Bill Gates is taking Microsoft into the on-line business. Experts say Microsoft Network will be the largest single on-line service by Christmas. All but the lowest projections say MSN will have more subscribers in its first four months than the combined circulation of all Gannett newspapers.
Gates is taking Microsoft into the news business. The Microsoft News Service will deliver original and wire content to millions of Americans.
Are you ready for the competition? Are you ready to take on Bill Gates?
Media critic Jon Katz of Wired Magazine doesn't think so.
"Newspapers need to invest in making themselves more appealing. Magazines have done a better job. Magazines speak in less formal voices," Katz says. "Newspapers have not changed creatively for the last 40 years. They need to try more radical experimentation.
"If newspapers die, it will be because of their own inability to change. They are not in the hard news business anymore. Information is instantly available through other sources. They must rethink what their front pages should be," says Katz, a former managing editor of the Baltimore News-American, and a former producer at CBS Evening News. "[Newspapers] don't cover culture well; they cover youth culture abominably. They attack the very things young people are interested in. Their best writers go to other media - magazines for example - to do their best work."
Katz, who last year wrote a Wired column titled "On-line or not, newspapers suck," finds it …