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The printed word: Is it dead?

I'm fed up with this debate -- technology versus ink and paper, or anywhere-with-an-Internet-connection versus obsolete newsroom. It feels like someone is poking around my insides with a sharp stick -- I'm fumbling in the dark for an anchor, because my tidal surge of rage and anguish is receding with every feeling I've ever had, and I hate it.

Every now then when I talk about my past life in the newspaper business, a well-meaning soul will flash me an "awe shucks" expression and explain -- as if I didn't already know -- that "newspapers are dead," or "we live in a paperless society."

If you want to be a paid journalist nowadays you need better than solid reporting skills -- you need to be a blogger and a tweeter and video capture-er and a coder and a ...

I tried reading an article last night about hacker journalism, and I got lost in the first two sentences.

I can't argue with the business bloggers and the suit-wearing executives who insist my brand of journalist belongs on the endangered species list -- they back up their claims with algorithms and pie charts and advertising revenues and on and on and on.

All's I've got are my outdated reporter's instincts and a rather large chip on my shoulder.

Perhaps I'm connecting a lot of imaginary dots, but I've seen with the decline of newspapers our political leaders lose all touch with reality, our moral compass evaporate and our social IQ plummet to just below ...

The technological advances we've made over the last quarter-century are impressive. And the scientists and engineers and entrepreneurs who paved the way for smart phones and tablet computers and e-readers and game consoles and mp3 players and all of the rest of the gadgets we carry around from point-A to point-B deserve their due.

It is convenient to have the entire Internet in my pocket. I'm right all of the time now -- I just pull out my phone or whatever, and show you in a matter of seconds that you're wrong.

This isn't a sociological argument to turn away from technology and go back to hunter-gatherer times -- I like my Nook and my iPod, a lot. I'm merely asking whether all of our modern conveniences are worth it.  Do we really need to eliminate cursive in elementary school to give our kids more computer time?

Clearly I'm biased. I mourn my newsroom and my ilk.

I can accept that my newspaper career is finished. I know why I got laid off.

Please stop telling me that newspapers are dead.

The Point Is To Be Heard
"Each of us is like a desert, and a literary work is like a cry from the desert, or like a pigeon let loose with a message in its claws, or like a bottle thrown into the sea. The point is: to be heard—even if by one single person."
FRANÇOIS MAURIAC

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