Former journalist Richard Kluger said, “Every time a newspaper dies, even a bad one, the country moves a little closer to authoritarianism; when a great one goes, such as the New York Herald Tribune, history itself is denied a devoted witness.” (Kluger worked as a journalist before becoming an accomplished Pulitzer Prize-winning author and book publisher.) I have always viewed newspapers as a way to record historic events, whether on the world, national, state or local level.
I became a news junkie at an early age.
Even though I didn’t understand what was happening in our nation and the world, I would look through the newspaper before my father got home from work.
As a youngster, I collected newspaper clippings about space flights, man landing on the moon, the Robert Kennedy assassination and other major events from our daily newspaper. I would cut out every article I could find from the Monroe News-Star and tape them in a notebook.
I was fascinated with news articles, photographs and pages.
Our weekly newspaper was not immune to my scissors, as I clipped photos and articles about family, friends, school news and sporting events. The first time my photo was in our weekly newspaper was when my high school yearbook staff won first place in the state. I collected about 20 copies for family keepsakes.
For more than 150 years, newspapers have recorded events throughout the world. Headlines filled the front page when the Titanic sank, ships at Pearl Harbor were attacked, two world wars began and ended, natural disasters occured and Challenger and Discovery exploded. And who can forget Sept. 11, 2001?
I was sad to hear the Seattle Post-Intelligencer was closing and the employees were given a two-month notice unless a buyer was found.
In March 2008, I had a similar experience when staffers at The Gazette in Orting were given a two-week notice and told that the parent company was closing the newspaper. The Gazette served the city for more than 16 years.
Newspaper employees and the town were helpless. Nothing short of a miracle could stop the company from shutting the papers’ doors.
The miracle never happened.
For the past year, Orting has been without a newspaper and residents are without a publication that covered their city, school district, sports and area happenings. All residents have is an Internet site attempting to fill a large void.
The Internet has become a blessing and a curse for the print world. Whether a daily, weekly or monthy publication, the newspaper industry has to adjust to society’s “get it now” information age.
Instead of resisting the Internet, newspaper companies are embracing it as another way to provide news and information. Not only can newspapers provide the printed story, but a visual story with today’s technology.
By computer or phone, the Internet is at our fingertips. We can read about news from around the world or from our local area.
With the Internet, we at Courier-Herald publications can become the No. 1 news source for the Plateau, Bonney Lake and Sumner areas. We have updated our ability to post breaking news as it happens and provide emergency information when needed. Photographs and images can be uploaded within a matter of minutes for the world to see.
The new technology allows us to produce and post videos of events such as sporting events and news stories. News is available 24/7, 365 days a year.
But with all these changes, I hope print newspapers never go away. If they do, how is anyone going to keep a scrapbook?