Cold comfort : lessons for the twenty-first-century newspaper industry from the twentieth-century ice industry
Ling, Richard Seyler
Date of Issue2017
Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information
First cut from frozen lakes and later manufactured on an industrial scale, ice was, in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, big business. The arrival of domestic refrigeration spelled the end of this industry. The rise and fall of the ice industry offers lessons to the modern newspaper industry, which faces a similar threat. Drawing an analogy between the ice and newspaper industries in terms of innovation and organizational learning, we look at how both are/were hampered by investment in technology and identity, and affected by devolution of control into consumers’ hands. Based on this, we suggest that the newspaper industry would benefit from links with heterogeneous rather than isomorphic partners to counterbalance routines that obstruct change, and just as refrigeration forced a reconceptualization of the concrete “ice” into the abstract “cold,” newspaper organizations can re-imagine themselves around the services and values they provide, rather than the product of “news.”
© 2017 The Author(s) (Published by Michigan Publishing). This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to use this work in a way not covered by the license.