Internet Killed the Newspaper Writer

24 11 2008

If the Bristol Press cannot find a buyer for their newspaper by January 1st then the paper will shut down. This leads me to my topic of local newspapers being shutdown by online newspapers which are read more widely now then ever. The focus on the digital age has lead to the downfall of both paper and ink. In this digital age people want their news streaming to them, and all customized as they see fit.

The online newspaper is in fact how I receive my news. I have two tabs which display two different forms of online news coverage, New York Times and CNN websites offer a variety of customizable news coverages ranging from from broad to specific beats. In my article Forms of the News, I already went over the significant differences so I won’t elaborate on them right now. But really why the change? Why the need for this streaming news? Maybe because it’s simple, it’s convenient, but really try explaining that to my grandfather.

It’s the simple things. It’s the local coverage of my small town. It’s the news on local skate parks fighting with the bikers. The local fundraisers and food-drives,the local highschool football coverage every Friday night. The texture, the smudges on your fingertips, the crisp smell of fine print just dripping from the pages. These are things which will be lost to my children’s children perhaps forever.

My grandfather worked at the Press. He said the parking lot would be filled with people. The place was  hive literaly bustling with writers and editors. But now there is at least half a dozen reporters. Even the people there now must understand that the thirst for local news is quenched, by a faster service provided by online news publications.

In the future we will all be are own journalists. We will cover the local stories and report on our local news blogs. Everyone can comment with first person  accounts of what they saw and be critiqued by their peers. Each comment can be edited,modified, and viewed by everyone who has logged in. News will be streaming at us spoon-fed. It will be not be rich, it will be sweet like nectar but it will be bittersweet. We will have lost the appeal of a physical presence of the paper. The nostalgia will be lost, but it will be a significant time before the presence of papers is wiped from our society. Children will access news via their console stations. Play a little Mario and check your stocks. The digital age of the future is upon us, repent the digital age is nigh.





Forms of News Part 2 (The internet)

17 09 2008

With the tap of my finger the motion sensing mouse clicks away to the closest search engine available. I search the word USA TODAY to view and compare the sights and the experience of viewing a newspaper online that I had previously viewed in it’s materialized state on paper. The online USA TODAY is featured in full HTML format with both 1’s and 0’s coding a publication that I had recently held in my hands. With my prints still blacked and smudged I begin typing away to search for the website. It is featured at the top of the search engine with various other links which can renew your subscription or take you to various parts, like the sports page which I was so eagerly awaiting to find. So it is relatively easy how quickly you can shift your focus in this online paper. Alot quicker then just reading it backwards like I do my Bristol Press.

The tab itself displays the words News,Travel,Wealth…(this was added to the categories list along with Travel and Tech) Usually these categories would be displayed but on the website itself it would have to justify and make their own separate categories.In the upper left-hand corner as opposed to the news on the New York Yankees is a built in search engine with the words Stories,photos,graphics and more listed. Immediately I flash back to my last piece where I wanted to find out how well Matt Cassel had done the night before so I enter his name into the search engine(powered by Yahoo). And their is a picture of Matt and various articles written by AP (associated press) and dates next to each headline. A mere minute faster then the previous search which had me thumbing though the paper by page while scanning each corner for the correct path.

While clicking through various pages to return home I notice that the advertisements are brought to the foreground. With looming pictures and graphics of Dell computers almost reaching out to grab my attention as I move from page to page. Advertisements also fill into corners of the page as little eye-grabbing-animations displaying the newest Verizon plans. Next to the search engine is three links asking to subscribe to the newspaper,subscribe to the rss(web feeds), or make usatoday.com your homepage.

A similarity glaring back at me is the young starlet Keira Knightly in the upper right hand corner. How bizarre, maybe that placement of her is a mere coincidence or maybe that format really worked for both the online and materialized publication. Underneath her picture is perhaps a slide show of various other news articles that can be displayed besides hers. Will leave her up for now. Another similarity is the headline itself which discussed the stocks closing higher. And the picture displayed is that of a women sifting through her damaged goods in Texas.

There is no direct smell coming from this particular page. Perhaps smell-o-vision of the future will induce the aroma and nostalgia of a newspaper.On my laptop I have a fixed lighting which helps to view the online publication. In the materialized state it is best to view the paper next to a good source of lighting. Contextually typing is in fact similar to thumbing I believe and rather tedious, although you wont have to go typing your way through various news articles just clicking on the links will do.

One of the most significant changes is the fact that mere common subscribers can actually chime in on the comments page to discuss the various articles. Leading me to believe that the future will be driven by wiki-like news written by the common man for the common man. That’s not to say that writers aren’t common people. But what value will a doctrine in journalism get you when Joe Blow can witness and event and post it on a website before the AP? People sifting through the online news will be updated in streaming real-time or as the events happen the writer is the common man sifting through the news he/she only wants to view specific topics pertinent to his/her life. Will the media itself be swarmed by this emergence of the local newswriter who is the everyday witness to local life?

With the digital emergence come a certain responsibility to report and write about the things we are capable of with a certain understanding. Will filtering out mass media allow for a more honest reporting? Or will it bring about scrutiny and a prevailing sense that this information is in fact unreliable, similar to Wikipedia being an unreliable source information due to the fact that it could be doctored by the everyday man. Will these changes in new media help define a broader sense of grittier more hard-nosed journalism uncompromising to the mass media? Will we sit at the breakfast table with news streaming through are collective iris as we spoon-fed both relevant news  and our cornflakes? Truly that is the Breakfast of Champions in the Kurt Vonnegut sense.

Is the dawn of the digital age the death of print, or perhaps the beginning of digital printing in media? Why settle for a small scrolled logo when you can access and entire page worth of advertisements that move and pulse toward the consumer. Only in this realm of the news, digital flow of information is key to comprising the ultimate digital experience in telling the news which is unparalleled to the outdated newsprint.





Forms of News Part 1 (The newspaper)

17 09 2008

Brendan Finn

Steve Ersinghaus

New Media

16 September 2008

Lay down three measly quarters on the counter and an abundance of news and information is at your darkened fingerprints. The USA TODAY sat folded with at least twenty to thirty other newspapers all stacked at the front of the convenience store. At the public library newspapers are usually stacked behind clear plastic boards holding up other papers and magazines. Fore a mere seventy-five cents as shown in the upper right hand corner of the publication, I took the paper home for observation.

My family and I do not usually purchase the USA TODAY.As uninformed heathens we observe the news through the local publication the Bristol Press. The first thing I had noticed was the the Press opens in a horizontal page-by-page like a large magazine. USA today opens at first glance, in a more verical sense until you actually open up to the individual articles which are displayed horizontally. Underneath is the title and a logo of the world which seems to be motion-blurred through horizontal lines, adding underneath that it is indeed NO.1 IN THE USA.

The front page is folded and a picture of the New York Yankees is seen addressing their many troubles of the season. But what’s important here is the concept that I do not have to start at the front page.But most of the important issues and relevant new items are in the front. I never read the Press like that. In fact I usually start from the back observing local high school sports and work my way to the professional sports.Then its on to the comics and puzzles. Then I check to see if anyone I grew up with was arrested that day,or if someone had committed a bizarre crime. Usually I work my way up to the front of the page, but I despise the Yankees so I moved my eyes to the upper right hand portion displaying the beautiful Keira Knightley. Something about setting a fashion statement for her upcoming movie.But in selling papers or anything for that matter, sex sells. So you can see why USA TODAY is NO. 1,because it’s got sports and sexy starlets on the first corners of the page. A date is sprawled and underlined underneath with the definitions of the various section pertaining to News,Money,Sports, and Life. Very valuable topics which should be addressed due to their pertinence in every ones daily lives. Their is a chart on various gas prices in comparison to Regular, Mid, and Premium. In American society we are taught to read left to right. But with the display of the picture certain pictorials and articles will grab your attention. Because the paper is clearly folded on my lap as I write this, the top story which is placed right below the title has in the largest font and darkest print Markets in turmoil.

Surprisingly the first placement I was looking for were the advertisements. Without them the paper does not collect on seventy-five cents a paper only. They strive on advertisements which usually bog down pages and articles. But on this first page their is relatively few. Many are hidden underneath in logos with the brand ABC or scrolling the bottom. The sports teams which receive the most attention like the Yankees must benefit from their exposure on the front page. What about the Keira Knightly movie the Duchess(product placement) which is discussed in 1D.Are Hollywood agencies paying the papers for this exposure?

Open up the front page like a nude woman pictorial and I must grip the rest of the articles before they slide between my fingers. The pages are grainy and thick, so they can better hold the ink and prevent bleeding. The pages are course and ripe with textures from the print. With a defiant thumb I can barely smudge the words on print, and leave very little stain on my finger tips.Sifting through the course pages I discover seven holes punctured through each page.Probably for the packaging the papers are strung together. The papers overall weight is relatively heaver then that of the Press due to more substantial articles.

That definitive whiff of the paper is most pleasing . The smell of a new book which spine has just been split.Or perhaps that moldy basement smell, where the ghouls hide out in the shadows to claim you as you reach for a beer in the fridge. Perhaps its the life-force of print;ink. It’s a black blood which streaks across the front page in the caption titled just below the top story Ike expands reach, havoc.The photgraph is the largest on the front page, it shows a middle-aged man carrying at least two whole boxes of water with ice stacked on top. Many other citizens are carrying boxes of supplies and are all wearing sandals as they wade out the Ike brewing in Texas.

Being an avid football fan I wish to acquire news on the performance of New England’s backup quarterback Matt Cassel and his performance against their rivals the Jets. So from observing the small picture of Derek Jeter and A-Rod in the upper left I know that all sports on page 1C. So by thumbing through the paper, in the upper right-hand corner I can see both the current date and title of the paper. Also the last bit of information is set as a directory or code to help navigate through the paper. Simple enough the code is arranged alphabetically and numerically. 3A will always come before 1C and so forth. So by thumbing though I reach past 7B and observe some faces of NFL coaches on 1C, as an indicator I’m in the right spot. In the upper left they categorize the sports with stats of previous games and games that will be played during that day. This time I open up the paper in a more horizontal fashion like my familiar Bristol Press. Inside in the bottom left hand corner I see a comparison to backup quarterback Matt Cassel and Tom Brady. Interestingly enough they have very familiar sayings in both stats and quotes at the end of their first game as starters for New England(phew).

So I folded the sports piece back into it’s place while I leaned  back into my chair next to my laptop waiting for the next discovery of news which is really only one tab away from my blog. But how can a newspaper so relatively close and accessible be in fact so radically different then the one materialized in front of me? Can the full experience of the newspaper be altered forever in the world of digital information streaming,updating and processing faster then any form of print. My children will sit and be spoon-fed digital streaming news at their fingerprints without getting a smudge a ink on their thumbs, but at what cost? Will these newspapers be but mere tomes faded from breakfast tables quietly observed sitting on our father’s lap as our society has moved on.