21 April 2009

Newspapers Go Paperless

About a year ago I began receiving the Chicago Tribune home delivery.  At first, I was so excited to get my paper in the morning, drink my coffee and start my day with a leisurely read.  Well, that lasted a couple of weeks and soon my papers were piling up day after day.  I would read parts of them here and there, but almost felt like it was one more stress I had to try to fit in to an already busy schedule.  More often than not, I would find myself reading the paper online while doing homework or waiting for class to start or while watching TV.  When it came time to renew my paper, I thought about cancelling my subscription.  And then I got really depressed.  I began my college career as a journalism major after having worked on my high school's newspaper.  I began a newspaper at the last school I taught at.  I love the newspaper.  I love seeing stories printed with photos and captions.  I love seeing kids reading it in the hallways or classrooms.  

So, despite the fact that I found myself neglecting the paper, I renewed my subscription with the hope that some newspapers will remain in print.  

With the explosion of the web many people are getting their news and information online than anywhere else.  Many print-based newspapers are feeling the crunch.  The Seattle Post-Intelligencer Newspaper delivered it's last print edition in March and the San Francisco Chronicle continues to struggle.  The Chicago Tribune has seen its share of woes as well.  As the world of journalism begins to change, what does that say for young journalists.  Will newspapers eventually fade away?  Will journalism classes be completely online?  It's already starting to happen.

Antioch Community High School in Antioch, IL is trying to figure out how to deal with budget constraints.  In a Chicago Tribune article, the newspaper team said that the school currently prints a 12 page paper, half the size of their previous 24 page paper.  This is one way to deal with ever-shrinking budgets.  Many other schools are starting to go completely print free.  Jamesville-Dewitt High School will print it's last hard copy in May.

This kind of change in media is what we need to consider in schools and libraries as we continue to create programming.  Journalism means so many things beyond interviews and word processors.  Video blogs and wikis can take the place of interviews and editorials.  Forums can take the place of advice columns.  And these things are already happening.  As technology continues to change we need to make sure we keep up on it.  It's hard, at least for me, to embrace this change at times.  Is this how my parents felt when records became non-existent?  Or when telephones became cordless?  I think the internet is an amazing thing and for the most part I'm a digital native, or at least close enough to one.  But, it saddens me to think that books, magazines and newspapers will eventually see an untimely death.  

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