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The Education Forum

Education and Publishing

John Simkin

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Research carried out recently by Guardian/ICM suggests that a third of all young people (14-21 years old) online have launched their own blog or website. It is argued that this shows that young people are no longer willing to accept the “one-way traffic of traditional media and publishing.”

Only 56% of this group ever read a newspaper. A far smaller proportion ever buy a newspaper. A growing number now get their news from the internet. According to Jupiter Research, the online advertising market will reach $18.9 billion by 2010, compared to $9.3bn in 2004. This is all money that will be captured from traditional media.

I can understand why people are interested in publishing their own thoughts on the world but it seems to me that the vast majority will fail to find an audience for their views. This seems to be the major problem with blogs. Only those who have developed an audience in other forms of media, can expect much of an audience for their writings.

In my view, it is Forums that has the most scope for publishing the views of young people. Forums are a way of outing people together with similar interests. Forums are communities that read and respond to the postings of others.

To my mind, this Forum is like the Sunday newspapers (the ones with loads of different supplements). It has a large number of sections where people read and reply to postings. Except for the JFK section, the audience is fairly small. However, it is a larger audience than people can expect to achieve from their blogs. Surely, the way forward is for bloggers to join forces and form their own online communities.

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