Thoughts from the Publisher

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by NEENA STRICHART

I hear a lot of talk these days about the future of newsprint. Some folks are convinced the medium is all but dead and are just sure we will all be perfectly satisfied with online media resources. The notion scares the heck out of me, and not just for personal business reasons. I worry about the written word and hard copy photos going by way of the Dodo bird. If it does happen, what will be the repercussions?

Being a longtime member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, I am especially concerned about ways of tracking genealogy in the future. With no photos and handwritten letters to pass down from generation to generation, how in the world will we trace our ancestry? Must everything be computer generated? The thought of a world with no photo albums or framed pictures breaks my heart. Remember those love letters tied with ribbon? Will they too disappear? Will there be scrapbooks and baby books to hand down from generation to generation? Will there be no more printed wedding invitations? Is the Bible the next to go? What is to stop constant revisionism if everything is generated on a computer screen? Maybe we all need to reread George Orwell’s 1984.
I’m worried that the written and printed word will all but vanish in the name of being environmentally responsible. There must be a happy medium out there somewhere.
As far as news goes, I can’t picture myself relying strictly on television or the Internet to leisurely read my local news. It’s hard to cuddle up on the front porch with a cup of coffee and your local paper if that paper no longer exists.
What happens to those who can’t afford a computer or aren’t techno savvy? Are those folks left out and kept in the dark about what’s happening in their own neighborhoods? Will neighborhood news disappear? We should all be concerned about the possibility of our papers being taken from our hands and instead being force-fed “news” from limited sources. If this topic interests you I have a suggestion…
Come join me at the “Press in Transition” panel meeting this Saturday, November 15 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Hosted by the League of Women Voters, the event will take place at the Long Beach Main Library Auditorium, 101 Pacific Ave. in downtown Long Beach. I have been invited to be a panelist along with Rich Archbold, Press Telegram; Harry Salzgaver, Gazette Newspapers; Danny Paskin, CSULB School of Journalism; and Jeff Rabin and Douglas Shuit, former Los Angeles Times writers.
We’ve been asked to talk about our opinions regarding the future of print journalism as well as topics such as public trust and commentary vs. news. The League has a set program, but will welcome questions from the audience. Do come join us. It should be a very lively discussion.

Thoughts From The Publisher

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