The Internet Isn’t Everything Everywhere

College kids still depend on print: 

What do you think about the fact that less than a quarter of college newspapers at public schools nationwide are updating their online content daily?

It’s concerning. I’ve always viewed the purpose of student newspapers as two-fold. Part one is to serve a niche market as a community paper and part two is to provide a training ground for the next generation of journalists. If you don’t have regular daily content, it might be hard to achieve those goals — especially part two. I mean, we live in the year 2014. Professional media outlets that are successful have robust online presences and run nonstop. With that being said, I understand how updating a site five days a week might be unrealistic for students who are running a paper that is understaffed, aren’t paid and possibly not even trained. I also don’t want to perpetuate quantity over quality.

But … but … I thought all Kids Today did was check their iPhones?! I thought that was why nobody could have nice things in the newsroom anymore?

If you go to the link, and look at the map, you’ll see some pretty predictable things it’s gratifying to have proven in living color. Large schools in larger, wealthier metro areas have better, more current sites. Smaller schools, poorer schools, in rural areas, still tend to rely on print.

What that says is what I’ve been saying for years now: Shifting resources from print to online is only an automatic good if that’s the best way to get the message out. If nobody in your town’s online, what good does it do you to put the news there? If you’re online to say you’re online, well, 1997 called and it wants you to hang in there because the music gets better.

It’s about the signal. It’s about the information. It’s about finding something out and telling as many people as possible. If that’s online, awesome (we are, after all, on the Internet RIGHT NOW). If that’s in print, awesome as well. If that’s you yelling from your window like a crazy person, or sending a text to everybody in your phone, God, I do not care, just fecking talk to each other already.

I know it’s hip to hate The Newsroom, guys, but this is the bedrock of journalism: 

Don[looking at the pilot and realizing the significance] Captain, my name is Don Keefer. That’s Elliot Hirsch and that’s Sloan Sabbith. We work for Atlantis Cable News. And we wanted you and your first officer and Flight Attendant Crazy Lady to be the first ones on this plane to know that our armed forces killed Osama bin Laden for you tonight.

Don: We reported the news.

Just tell people things. In all the anxiety and all the madness and all the economics, we have lost the mission. Stop boring on about digital paradigms and what’s the latest trend and figure out how to get to your neighbor something that he didn’t know an hour ago. However you have to do that, do it that way.

And stop assuming that everybody younger than 25 wants the same thing.


2 thoughts on “The Internet Isn’t Everything Everywhere

  1. Oh, A, the “kids today” include us 50-somethings (Android, not iPhone) who depend on faster-than-TV, less-crooked-than-Faux Noise sources for our news too. Especially if we’re into space instead of Ebola, voting rights instead of celeb gossip, and real risk instead of OMG you’re not scared enough yet.
    Facts have a definite liberal bias. US media, especially when controlled by that Murdoch servant of Mammon, the opposite.

  2. Well I don’t know. Semi-kidding when I ask as the news agencies transmit their stories electronically wouldn’t they be part of the Internet ?

    Of course I realize that a huge amount of the news, law, academic journals, etc. are sent to subscribers that pay bit chunks of money to gain access to it. But the companies that put out that info have a web page ?

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