Techno-Tapping Into Tomorrow

The Times-Picayune (T/P) is making a bold move from a daily print and paper newspaper to a three day per week publication and twenty-four/seven digital input/output. Many other newspapers may follow suit but the T/P is the first newspaper in its class (major market) to try this.

Life goes on no matter what may occur. But over 200 workers will now stand way back in the queue of unemployed regularly being told our economic instability is no more than a hiccup. I’d suggest it’s probably one of those painful gaseous bubbles stuck behind the sternum more than a little burp for these folks. It’s hoped our self-determinant, entrepreneurial spirit will kick in and these good people will find employment soon.

But, another problem goes along with this new format of reporting the news. The question of the news’s integrity comes into question.

With this happening I suggest you watch one of the 24 hour “News” programs either on Fox, CNN or any of the other local news outlets. These “shows” are constituted of continual and periodically updated news stories broadcast endlessly. Eventually you want to gag. The same vision of loveliness (news reader) can be seen welded for all time in video-graphic splendor repeating the same story you suffered through in the last hour with no deviations.

Is this what we have to hope for with digital “newspapers”? Will the content be trustworthy as “citizen reporters” post videos of “late breaking news” and techno-tap their by-lines to an editor who may or may not know what the heck is going on? Who will substantiate the news-feed? Can the “citizen reporter” remain objective and not slide from reportage into deeply (or poorly) veiled opinion?

This, of course, will be a new field of advertising endeavor to till for the T/P managers. On television you can get a cup of coffee or a cold beer to remove you from the seemingly endless array and display of commercial interruptions. The newspaper interrupted the news presentation in asymmetrical ways designed to attract your attention to the advertiser’s wares. This was all designed to command attention. Your mind processes the written word in a specific way with a projected and calculable result.

With touch and click mentalities in action we can bypass the advertisements with impunity. It’s not necessarily beneficial to click past the ads (we may NOT get the info we need to solve problems or find services we need) but, we’re a mentally lazy culture demanding instant and condensed information without interruptions we might find aggravating.

The mind is drawn to those “pop-up” advertisements you set the computer to by-pass as you navigate the Internet. Will advertisers be getting their money’s worth in virtual publication? Will the “spam filter” be the final arbiter as to who is served and who is disserved?

The cost of paper is becoming exorbitant and the environmental impact has been outrageous with old growth rain forests and arboreal harvesting endangering the ozone layer. Recycling is a must for newspapers to survive in the traditional format. It may be necessary to become digitized in order to transmit the news, but it is a sad state of affairs to note that necessity at this time. It’s a sad state of affairs to note the impact all of this will have on individuals thrown into financial inactivity and fiscal straits consigned them by a failure of the human directors of men’s fates. We’ve not been good stewards of our economies, our environments and our world. This is merely another example of our inability to maintain a trust we were expected to uphold.

Digital news-hawking will be an experiment demanding compliance with its directing the way we learn about what’s going on around us. Using new techniques of video-reportage may enliven the presentation you hold in your hand. In-depth reportage may be better enhanced with video presentations available.

But it won’t necessarily evoke the memories of reading the comics while sitting on a beloved elders lap.

We’ll just have to wait and see how it all goes over time. But, I’ll miss the trip to the roadside to get my daily news fix.

Thanks for listening.



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