MY SUNDAY LOS ANGELES TIMES arrived with a sticker on the front page advertising
home foreclosure auctions – a struggling industry trying to reach
people via a dying medium. As ironies go, this was a keeper.
than morning, a man I guessed to be in his late ‘50s sat with a
newspaper and a black coffee. Not 10 feet away at the same coffee
house, two young women huddled around an iPhone, reading news and
discussing various web sites as they sipped their lattes.
That the news business is changing is nothing new. Yet as I get
older I find myself lost between two worlds – clinging to the physical
while embracing the digital. And I wonder if I’m the last generation to
feel this way.
Those older than me will never fully understand or accept the
Digital Present. My sister is only seven years my senior and she still
thinks the Internet is a place where friends and family send each other
lame jokes and urban legends via e-mail. The generation just a few
years younger than me barely reads newspapers and never watches network
news – and those even younger, like my nine-year-old daughter, will
never subscribe to a newspaper or understand news as anything other
than a commodity. Or worse, as anything other than the “Star Tracks”
section of People Magazine.
I’m not saying we need to turn back the clock (and for those of you
shaking your heads right now, a “clock” was a device that displayed the
time with “hands” that could be turned forward or backward. But I
digress…). The news business may be downsizing, but in many ways news
is bigger than ever, more accessible and, thanks to citizen
journalists, more honest than ever before. The best journalists will
adapt because good stories are medium and trend agnostic; new voices
will surface because the barriers to entry are all but gone.
This is all great, all wonderful, and I wouldn’t change the future
for the sake of the past. Nevertheless, there’s one thing I wish we
could hand down to the next generations, could make them understand,
could make them experience.
Ink doesn’t just activate the senses – it permeates. Ink gives words
weight beyond meaning. Ink has a place, even in a world of bits.
Ink is authentic. It has been around for centuries and has brought us the most amazing stories imaginable and unimaginable.
Ink makes us laugh – and in the case of my Sunday L.A. Times with the home foreclosure sticker ad, ink makes us cry.
Ink is in-between. And so am I.