The future of news

So, what's next?


If we have learned anything from the first decade of the new millennium, it is that we often don't fare well at predicting the future.

We get parts of it right, and there are always a few who like to brag that they saw this or that coming.

But no one sees it all.

That was certainly true in news over the past 10 years -- the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001; the Graniteville train crash of 2005; James Brown's Christmas Day death in 2006.

Few saw changes coming for The Chronicle , either.

Throughout the decade, the reliable printed product continued to land on doorsteps, but more and more readers were finding that The Chronicle 's news was available much sooner on their computers, and even their cell phones.

Today, The South's Oldest Newspaper's Web site averages a quarter-million page views each day.

When the calendars turned to 2000, it's unlikely many readers expected that in just 10 years, they would access newspaper content on their cell phones.

The use of the Internet to deliver news almost immediately to the readers, wherever they are, has been one of the most remarkable shifts of the past decade.

There's also another dynamic going on: Online readers comment on the stories they read. They discuss the issues. They argue; they praise. They argue some more.

What will the next 10 years bring?

The Chronicle 's legendary editor Patrick Walsh was asked more than a century ago about Augusta's future.

He predicted challenges, changes and many grand things, but concluded, "We will not live to witness the realization of this dream. But The Chronicle will live. The workers die, but the work remains."

We'll be busy.