The cost of the digital revolution

February 18, 2011
The cost of the digital revolution

We are all familiar with digital media, from online news and 3G phones to apps and iPads, but what are the implications of the shift from print to online on energy use and greenhouse gas emissions? Does buying a newspaper have a smaller or larger environmental footprint than browsing online? How does accessing news online change our reading habits? And how might the business change in the future, as eReaders become more widespread and personalised printed newspapers become possible?

These are some of the questions that will be addressed over the next two years by researchers at the University who will be working with the Guardian News and Media Group (GNM) to track what they do, and assess the of the news industry in a number of future scenarios.

Known as Sympact, the project is led by Dr. Chris Preist from Bristol’s Department of Computer Science and Dr. Mike Yearworth from Bristol’s Systems Center, and is carried out in partnership with the University of Surrey.

The project will be building systems models to help explore the different ways the news industry might look in the future, and what its would be. The approach of the research team is unique in that it will integrate a number of systems-based approaches, including environmental life-cycle analysis, models of customer behaviour and models of future technological change.

Speaking about the project, Dr. Preist said: "Using these different approaches and working out how these things fit together will be a challenge, but an analysis of these combined factors has not been done before."

The project has implications for the wider media industry, as Dr. Preist explains: "We are aiming to share the results with the wider media industry as the project progresses. For the Guardian, they want to understand how the environmental impacts of their business might change as technology transforms it, so they can plan in advance how to keep their impacts down."

Explore further: Researchers revolutionise opportunities for the European water industry

More information:

Related Stories

An 'electric' future for Formula 1 gearboxes?

October 3, 2008

Bristol University student, Niall Oswald, has won the e2v Award for the Best Electronic Engineering Student at the 2008 Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) Awards for his final-year research project, 'A "More-Electric" ...

Planning strategies needed to protect food sources

August 6, 2009

( -- Climate change and urban expansion could threaten the sustainability of horticultural industries in the Adelaide Hills unless a long-term strategy is employed, according to a senior geographer at the University ...

News Corp. abandons digital newsstand project: WSJ

October 22, 2010

News Corp. has dropped a digital newsstand project that was part of an ambitious plan by the Rupert Murdoch-owned company to help publishers charge for content online, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

Energy use in the media cloud

December 3, 2010

The increased availability and access of broadband around the world has meant a rise in global demand for online media services and this could have implications for a society that is living within environmental limits. New ...

Recommended for you

Inferring urban travel patterns from cellphone data

August 29, 2016

In making decisions about infrastructure development and resource allocation, city planners rely on models of how people move through their cities, on foot, in cars, and on public transportation. Those models are largely ...

How machine learning can help with voice disorders

August 29, 2016

There's no human instinct more basic than speech, and yet, for many people, talking can be taxing. 1 in 14 working-age Americans suffer from voice disorders that are often associated with abnormal vocal behaviors - some of ...

Apple issues update after cyber weapon captured

August 26, 2016

Apple iPhone owners on Friday were urged to install a quickly released security update after a sophisticated attack on an Emirati dissident exposed vulnerabilities targeted by cyber arms dealers.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.