On the basis of this infographic, I started having mopey thoughts about the death of print media. I have mopey thoughts about the death of print media every day of my life, but this time I’m going to share them.
I dedicate more of my time to making newspapers – to interviewing and editing and writing and teaching and proofing and stressing about AP Style – than anything else. And I love it. I’m emotionally attached to the physicality of print, yes. I love the smell of newsprint and the whipping sound those thin, grey pages make when they turn. I love holding information in my hands. I love clipping my articles and keeping them in a neat, paper-clipped stack in my desk.
But I also love the print news cycle and the process of making physical newspapers. I love the way the stress steadily builds until production night and I love the sigh of complete relief the next morning, when you finally hold that paper in your hands. I love the way the stress starts right back up about five minutes later. I love having a longer story cycle. I love seeing the print designs that people more talented than me come up with. I love proofing on paper. I love the pressure that comes with producing content for a constrained space; I think it often brings out the best in people.
But every time I make it through that cycle – every time I see the finished product and breathe a sigh of relief because, man, this time I thought we really wouldn’t make it – it feels less like an accomplishment than a eulogy. Every time I help to make a newspaper, I know I’m just adding onto the pile of the last print newspapers ever made.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m so excited about new media and everything that’s ahead. I wouldn’t want to go back to an age without twitter and technology and convergence. I can’t wait to see what news organizations look like in ten years, and I hope I’ll play some part in shaping that.
But print is a viscerally lovely thing, and I find myself growing more and more attached to it the closer it gets to being gone.
I guess I’m just a sucker for goodbyes.