RIP Newspapers

I started writing when I was 8. From that point until the beginning of my freshman year of college, my goal was to work for a newspaper. For ten years I had big dreams of working my way up the food chain and a big city paper. I wanted to see my work in print.

Even when I began to dislike and mistrust The Toledo Blade (a publication that is not even fit to line the bottom of my bird cages), I still loved the idea of working in print media. I worked on the newspaper in high school.

I even went to the special “Eastern Echo” recruiting session at Eastern Michigan University. I was so excited that the article I wrote in that workshop was going to be in the “Welcome Back” edition of the paper. I had every intention of working at the paper all four years I attended there.

Luckily, fate intervened. I went through the steps to work for the paper at the beginning of the term. I got my blue card and headed over the Echo office. I looked at the available stories a couple of times, but I never found anything I liked. Soon I was having other concerns. I began to read nasty articles about the Marching Band, and as a band geek I was mildly offended.

Still, I looked forward to having the time to work on articles after the season was over. Then they crossed the line. They wrote a horribly insensitive article after one of our saxophone players died in an accident on his way to the homecoming game. I was furious at the author and even more appalled that the editors let it go to print. At that point I was done.

The Eastern Echo was now only used to line the bathroom floor on my monthly hair dye day. I walked away from newspapers and found comfort in electronic media.

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I am so glad my temper and naïve notions sent me walking. Now, the business I had big dreams of being a part of is on the endangered species list. Papers are declaring bankruptcy. Other papers are “shutting down the presses.”

My campus (the one I work for) used to get complimentary copies of the Indianapolis Star for our students. Those days are now gone. The print and the margins are getting smaller, the papers are getting thinner, and jobs are being cut.

Newspapers are a dying breed. This is unfortunate for those who make the paper, but it also has an impact on the readers. What will happen to the newspaper readers once their paper goes under? Actually, we are already seeing the future. More people are turning to television and the internet. The plasma TV’s in our building lobbies are on CNN 24/7. Television is a huge part of our culture already. The internet gives us access to world, national and local news.

In some cases news can be reported as it happens. Between traditional media online, bloggers, and other “citizen” reporters, people have many choices and options. Not to mention mobile web adds a whole new dimension to this. I have Pocket Express on my Blackberry. That application allows me to download top news stories to my phone at any time. I don’t even need to be at my computer.

It does make me sad to see newspapers fade away. Things fall out of style. Technology becomes outdated. However, I never imagined my childhood dream would not even be a possibility for the next generation.

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