It would have been interesting to be a fly on the wall at the Fairfax strategy meeting on Monday. It was addressed by Professor Jeffrey Cole, a world expert on the impact of the internet, who apparently predicted to the assembled executives that newspapers as print products would cease to exist in Australia within the next 6-10 years.
Cole’s opinions do not come out of thin air. Ten years ago, he founded the World Internet Project. The WIP is an international collaborative undertaking that looks at the social, political and economic impact of new media technologies. It is some of the most authoritative research in existence on the impact of the internet. The Australian WIP partner is the ARC’s Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation based at the Institute for Social Research, Swinburne University.