Sure, this post is a bit ironic. I am writing to defend print journalism, to prove that it’s not just a romanticized facet of a past time that I don’t want to die away. Although there is a nostalgic allure to these items from other eras, such as typewriters or telegraphs, with newspapers it’s about more than sentimentality. But of course, I’m writing this for an online blog.
Despite the irony, I am glad this is an online post. I don’t think we should throw out all our computers and set the type by hand for an exclusively print-producing newsroom. There is no denying the advantages of this age of technology — what we are able to accomplish now is astounding. We publish so much content online, we use social media to reach new audiences, we run a variety of blogs, and we have the potential to provide news to more people more often. It’s easy to forget how much has changed in not that long and how much the internet has revolutionized this industry.
When I told my grandma that I was starting work at the Daily Cal, she told me about my grandpa working at his high school newspaper. He was a “printer’s devil,” setting type for the print newspaper. It is definitely inspiring to think about how much dedication and work went into creating a newspaper back then. We should keep in mind the great advantages that technology and the internet have given us, but not forget the roots of journalism and the importance of print newspapers to the entire industry.
In this age, there is an abundance of information. The amount of news online is a testament to the power of modern technology, but it contributes to what I see as almost too rapid consumption of news and information. There is a constant supply of things to be read, looked at, scrolled through, clicked on — which is great in some ways, because people can now see breaking news in real time and keep up on the events of the world more than just once each morning when the paper is delivered.
However, in all this abundance, things get lost in between. Not only is there a never-ending stream of news, but there are also countless messages that can pop up while reading an article, clickbait pages that never cease to distract and a limitless supply of Instagram refreshes.
When constant notifications alert you about a new story and when each news platform is rapidly updated, it becomes difficult to focus on what is important and decide what deserves your attention. It is easier, in my opinion, to feel the need to skim and to be distracted by all else that the internet has to offer. Print vanquishes those distractions and allows one to focus on a few important stories.
Along the same lines, but somewhat harder to articulate, is the sense of intentionality that reading a newspaper encompasses. In creating a tangible object that you can hold in your hands, we’re taking the time to make something lasting and putting our best effort into it. It takes deliberate action to pick up a paper and spend time reading it, just as it takes deliberate work on the paper’s behalf to choose what is in print, design a layout, attempt many headlines for each story until it is the best it can be. Print editions of the news are reminders of the roots of journalism and the important work that goes into it every day.
There is always talk of cutting print production. While there’s no reason we shouldn’t move forward and make online journalism the best it can be, print journalism remains at the heart of news. Just as my grandpa worked to print a paper every day, I am proud that I work at the Daily Cal, where we still print a paper multiple days a week. As I see it, keeping print papers alive is part of keeping serious journalism alive. So now that you’ve read this online, which I’m thankful you have, grab a Daily Cal, sit back, rid yourself of distractions for a couple minutes, and read the news that’s been specially compiled to help you stay informed.
Contact Hannah Martin at [email protected].