The End of an Era?

I was saddened to read in Wednesday’s Democrat and Chronicle that the Rochester Institute of Technology is selling the printing press they use for their weekly magazine and moving to a digital-only format.

Click here to read the story.

Online versions and e-readers may be considered the wave of the future, but to my mind, there’s nothing like good old newsprint. Yes, I hate the way my fingertips get blackened by the ink, but it’s a tactile experience. And when I want to save an article to read later, I can just tear it out and put it on my desk where it’s immediately visible. (In fact, that’s exactly what I did with the D&C story.)

I can view multiple articles at a time (instead of having to scroll), and can just scan the first paragraph of each. The paper also keeps my lap warm as I’m reading it. I remember my father saying how during the Depression, they used to stuff newsprint in their shoes to keep them warm. Try doing that with a Nook or a Kindle!

In college, I worked on my college newspaper, and loved the experience of preparing the copy. In those days, that meant typing it in to a computer using special codes for column width, point size, bold, etc., and then taking a 5 ¼-inch floppy disk (remember those?) over to another machine which printed out the copy in strips which we then waxed and manually pasted into the layout on the light table. Again, a tactile, hands-on experience.

I loved those late Wednesday nights/early mornings when we put together the paper and later had the experience of picking up a paper from a pile and flipping to the page where I could see my name in print. It’s just not the same online.

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One Response to The End of an Era?

  1. Pingback: A Book from a Machine? | JK Hanson Wordcraft

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