Digital Divide


The Press, a nonprofit news source that started covering local
issues online in 2009, will release a full 20-page main section with an
eight-page pullout – bucking a national trend whereby startup,
nonprofit news Web sites sprout online and stay in cyberspace.

“It strikes me as audacious,” says Tom Goldstein, a professor at the
UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, adding that the move to
print sets the Press “apart, and there may be great benefit in being
set apart.”

Although Tuesday’s issue will be the Press’ last for several months,
Michael Stoll, the outlet’s executive director, says that if the demand
is there, he would eventually like to print daily.

This “backward” move from the Web to potential daily print has surprised many, Stoll says.

“There are a bunch of digital evangelists who have made it their
career and their business to proclaim the death of print, and to say
the sky is falling,” he says.

Yet such evangelism has dampened innovation in a sector Stoll says
is still very much alive, still serving as a vital digital bridge for
those with limited Internet access or ability.

One of the reasons I keep talking about print being vital is that NOT EVERYBODY HAS THE INTERNETS. I’m not just talking about people who can’t afford a computer at home, I’m talking about people who live in isolated areas, too. It’s easy to gank your neighbors’ wifi when you have neighbors. Mr. A and I got into a big discussion about a good old-fashioned socialistic “rural Internetification” program to stimulate the economy while driving around inner Wisconsin this weekend looking for cell service, mostly in vain. I’d have been better off with a satellite phone, and even then.

This isn’t the city mouse complaining, by the way. Not everyone needs or wants the Internet or cell signals or iPads or whatever, and as of right now, people still have access to other ways of getting the news. But when smart-phone-espoused journalists wank on about the future of news being entirely digital, I think they’re forgetting that right now for a dollar or less you can pick up the day’s information. That’s all the app you get but if you only have a buck, that’s what you can get. And plenty of people only have a buck.

Via Romenesko.



2 thoughts on “Digital Divide

  1. As a librarian, I remember when microfilm was going to make books a thing of the past.
    And remember that TV was going to replace radio.
    What the pundits always seem to miss is that you have the information (broad definition includes entertainment to school books) being delivered and you have the media. Some information doesn’t fit some some types of media. And some types of media don’t fit given situations very well.

  2. I’m up north of 8. My ex was telling me how he can pick up a wifi signal at his farm, but he has trouble with cell phone coverage. Some days he can get Twin City radio and tv, some days he can’t. Print, and a longer news cycle.

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