If numbers released last week are anything to go by, reports of the imminent death of the newspaper have been greatly exaggerated. According to the World Association of Newspapers, global circulation is up 2.1 per cent to a record 395 million daily copies sold. Advertising revenue is up 5.3 per cent. Much of the growth is in emerging markets, where rapidly expanding economies are creating a thirst for information. Circulation is up 3.7 per cent on the mainland to 93.5 million newspapers sold daily, and up 8 per cent in India to 78.8 million. With newspaper readership around the world climbing rapidly, it is difficult to imagine a 400-year-old industry disappearing by 2040, as predicted by Philip Meyer in his book The Vanishing Newspaper. To be sure, the newspaper - and more broadly, traditional media - faces a rapidly changing economic environment that could lead to the closure of publications that do not respond quickly enough. Since the internet came into its own a decade ago, much has been made of the steady shift in advertising from newspapers to online media, which is more efficient in terms of cost and precision. But the internet is driving more profound changes beyond the re-allocation of advertising dollars. It promises to change the way we think of newspapers, and radio and television as well. Two months ago, Rupert Murdoch spoke before the American Society of Newspaper Editors and exhorted them to embrace the digital era. This has been interpreted by some to mean that newspapers should fully embrace bloggers, and it is an interesting point. It was a blogger who pointed out flaws in reporting by CBS News anchor Dan Rather that eventually led to his resignation, and blogs provided some of the most heartfelt and compelling coverage of the Asian tsunami crisis. In South Korea, OhmyNews, a website read by roughly 2 million people, has more than 33,000 'citizen reporters' contributing news stories - a sort of open-source model for the media industry. But just as with open-source software, the bulk of us will remain passive consumers content to let others do the heavy lifting. Besides allowing consumers to take part in the creation of content, the bigger change coming is the way media gets distributed. What newspaper today does not have a website to reach readers cost-effectively? Once broadband connectivity becomes more widespread throughout the world, there will not be a television broadcaster or radio station without one as well. The boundaries between these three media - newspapers, television and radio - will increasingly become blurred as the internet becomes the primary form of content distribution. This was the point Mr Murdoch was getting at in his speech to the American newspaper editors. As audiences divide their attention among competing media - traditional versus online, text versus audio-visual - the winners will be those who can aggregate an audience across all media forms and present this to advertisers. 'Our job now is to bring this content profitably into the broadband world, to marry our video to our publishing assets, and to garner our fair share - hopefully more than our fair share - of the advertising dollars that will come from successfully converging these media,' Mr Murdoch said. With a portfolio of newspapers, television and radio properties spanning the globe, he is well positioned to do it. What will become of the newspaper by 2040? It will still be with us, but looking less like a newspaper and more like a 'news brand', delivering content via multiple channels (print and IP) to multiple devices (computers, mobile phones, PDAs) in multiple formats (text, audio and video). This convergence of media is already happening. Thanks to low production and distribution costs, several newspapers - including this one - are experimenting with radio-style news programming delivered as podcasts over their websites. The Age in Australia makes video news clips available at its website. While these efforts are organic, it is helpful to remember how Mr Murdoch acquired his extensive media portfolio: via acquisition. As digital content distribution becomes more common, traditional media outlets may embark on a buying spree to ensure their survival. It is more than possible that newspapers will tie up with radio and television stations to bring their respective strengths under one roof.