Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Death (read: Rebirth) of Newspapers

The slow decline of newspapers comes as now surprise in this increasingly digital age. However, it seems to me that many people are mourning the passing of this traditional form of media, but it makes little sense to me. Maybe it's because I'm a "technology native," having grown up with a computer in my household since I was in the 3rd grade, but it just seems silly that some people are sad that newspapers are going the way of the dinosaur. It's not that the news is going away, or that our freedoms are lessened, or that jobs are being significantly decreased. It has just changed it's packaging. It would be like saying "I used to like Pepsi; that was, before they changed they changed their logo." Alright, so that's a little hyperbolic, as I can understand the nostalgia of getting a paper on your front porch, the smell, the feel, the flipping of the pages, but that seems a silly thing to mourn.

I once had a professor that became livid at me because I used a digital version of a book instead of the print version. He told me, "This is why I got into this business! For books!" He then forced me to touch one of his books saying "Here! Touch it! This is a book. It has pages. You could have just asked me for a copy and I could have given it to you." Such aggression and aversion to the digital is baffling to me. Are the words any less meaningful? Can I not have the same experience by clicking and scrolling rather than flipping and leafing? Are notes in the margins less useful when they are in a digital format?

Nostalgia can be a strange beast, but I say to those who feel they are being ripped away from that which they have grown so fond of; what you love is still there, it just has different packaging.

1 comment:

  1. I would just like to say that I find nothing enjoyable or nostalgic about newspapers. Part of it might be that I am just used to technology, or that I used to be a paper boy, and seeing or smelling newspapers brings back miserable memories of trudging through mud and snow and being chased by dogs. I also don't like newspapers in my driveway. The Bulletin keeps throwing them there, and I leave them there for a few days, hoping they will get the message, before I throw them away. But blast them, they keep throwing them there anyway. Plus, if you handle a newspaper to much the ink starts to rub off onto your hands and then you have to wash your hands. So, I agree, mourning the death of the newspaper really is a silly thing.