|The Boston News-Letter was first published on April, 24, 1704.|
Never in my dreams did I ever think I'd be writing about this subject.
Now perhaps, but when I was growing up as a 10-year-old kid where my mom only subscribed to the Sunday Republican newspaper, which was my only source of Boston Red Sox news from columnists Garry Brown and Ron Chimelis, I believed this was the only and best source; newspapers.
Of course there was television and radio, but when I wanted to know about prospective trade rumors, player statistics, league leaders, standings, and a classic feature, I hit up The Republican sports page. That was my "online source" back in the day and this was 14 years ago.
I wasn't able to watch Red Sox games on an every day basis because NESN wasn't a part of our cable package until 2001 so I listened to Joe Castiglione and Jerry Trupiano on WHYN-AM 560 Springfield every night and got yelled at to go to sleep because it was a "school night."
But now, I've fallen into the category where the internet and social networking trends have consumed my life and Facebook, Twitter, and blogging are the new ages of journalism, which I am on board with.
However, despite the internet craze and the downfall of the newspaper industry, which can be blamed for the economy, not just the internet where a lot of the content is free, the younger generation doesn't seem to care about how the history of newspapers.
I truly believe they wouldn't care whatsoever if every paper in the country folded and was only available online. I mean come on, with iPhones, Blackberries, iPads, and laptops, you can still get the news on the go without having to carry a bulky broadsheet or tabloid paper.
I've seen it with my own eyes with the newspaper shrinkage. My paper has drastically cut down its sports page. Every Sunday we used to run league leaders, Red Sox stats, upcoming schedule, the whole shebang, which stretched over two pages including photos of some of the players. It's so easy to forget too.
The same deal with The Boston Globe. They used to do the same thing and I remember one time a caller complained and asked why we didn't run league leaders and statistics anymore in the Sunday paper. I made an educated guess and later confirmed it with the sports editor saying they cut it because of the section shrinkage.
But young people, they think, 'oh all of the information is available online so what's the big deal?' Well the older generation who rely on that Sunday sports section, they still care, but that's not the whole point of this post.
I personally love the smell of a freshly printed newspaper (whether the fumes have done damage to my brain, well, I surely hope not). I love holding the news in my hand and by this I don't mean on an iPad. I value the effort that goes into compiling and delivering the news everyday and I don't believe that papers are the so called "dinosaur age."
Newspapers, books, media guides, you need to have hard copies, it can't all be accessible solely online. I couldn't image every newspaper in the country folding, I honestly believe it would one of the darkest days in our country.
You can't count on technology. Things happen.
Batteries die, WiFi isn't available, 3G coverage shorts out. Then what?
What the younger generation doesn't understand (which I am classified under) is the whole concept of what makes a newspaper.
There are the reporters, photographers, editors, copy editors, technicians, graphic designers, press-room workers, etc. There is a specific chain and ranking of how things get done and produced. You don't just have reporters writing stories on their own, not being edited, placed on a page, and printed.
Newspapers aren't the internet and the internet isn't a newspaper.
To be a journalist and a reporter you have to understand the value of the business, which started back in 1704 when the first continuously published paper, The Boston News-Letter was printed.
Yes way back in 1704 over 300 years ago, perhaps I do sound like I'm from the stone age and am 50-years-old, but think about it. If the world went through a catastrophic event where there was a complete blackout, no power, no internet, no WiFi, no way of communication and records and news were only stored through computers and the internet? We'd be screwed, plain and simple.
I'm not saying the Pony Express will become reincarnated.
I know that's really far fetched, but I'm just trying to prove a point. You need to appreciate where and when journalism first started before you think you can demean and write off newspapers from existence. Young people don't have the right or power to make the decision to can the newspaper industry.
I can even take it a step further.
What about local coverage in town newspapers? You mean you're trying to tell me they should all fold too?
That's where I got my first break when I got a part-time job my senior year in high school at my town newspaper covering my school's varsity sports teams. I learned a great deal there from writing, reporting, deadlines, etc. Those are so valuable and they are great stepping stones for young people to get involved with writing.
Sometimes the younger generation just thinks town newspaper coverage isn't good enough for them, they want to start at the New York Times, USA Today, and the Washington Post.
That's a good one! But that's another topic of discussion for a future post.
To be continued.