…and the dinosaur you rode in on.

Mr. Brien McHugh's picture

I had an interesting discussion with my Writing Across the Media II class. I had them read an article in the Columbia Journalism Review “Print is Dead, Long Live Print!” and their comments were illuminating.

In essence, the article is saying that, despite all we’ve heard about the death of the traditional newspapers, a significant number of people still get at least some of their daily news from an honest-to-God, ink-on-your-hands newspaper. The article quoted studies from the Pew organization and other reliable researchers….yet some of the statistics seem unbelievable. For example researchers found that print reaches, on average, 28% of any given metro area, while online reaches only 10%.  And, in the coveted 18-24 year old demographic, 20% read a newspaper at least once a week, while only 8% read a digital news site every week.

“What?” you say. How can this be? Isn’t everything in the whole world going digital? Yes and no, it seems. My WAM II class confirmed most of the notions put forth by the article; if convenience, speed and accessibility weren’t factors in the decision, they would, unanimously, choose print over digital. Tell me, though, when are convenience, speed and accessibility NOT significant factors in the decision?

Another portion of the article commented on just how badly news organizations have fared when it comes to keeping a print newspaper afloat and/or going totally online. First you had to pay for everything then you paid for nothing then you paid for the first 5 articles then…. I think you get the idea. According to the author, no one has gotten it right yet. The best balance seems to be an online presence for speed, accessibility and convenience along with a print version that offers analysis along with content.

The author supplied more evidence to prove that everything we assumed is wrong. Several long dead, old-school technologies are enjoying a resurgence: the vinyl record album, recording tape, Polaroids, film (for movies), board games and note books (the paper kind, not the electronic, laptop kind.) More on this topic later. In the meantime, don’t throw out your 8-track tapes. You never know….


Glen Gummess's picture

Everyone should take time to visit this remarkable exhibit, and reflect upon the facts that prove that for all the progress we've made, we still have a long way to go, and that the incoming Presidency threatens to derail the efforts of building real inclusivity in this country. You will meet the DACA student in whose eyes you will see genuine anxiety about possible future prospects under the Trump presidency. You will witness 23 innocuous reasons why Black people have been killed in law enforcement confrontations. You will come away with disgust about how a Muslim woman, so slight of build she could be knocked over with a feather, could be tackled and roughed up by police for wearing nothing more than a hijab. And especially if you're white, you'll be asking yourself questions like, why doesn't this happen to me? Why not indeed? The path to compassion at least starts with awareness. "Being white, I must acknowledge that I am a person of white privilege. It's not my fault, but it is a fact. Awareness counts toward change." That's what I wrote.

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