Letters to the Editor

Weighing print

I'm not entirely convinced of Mr. Lessenberry's assessment of outcomes we will see in the decline of the printed newspaper ("What we'll miss," March 4).

The landscape is changing, but not entirely for the worse. I think it is loaded with opportunities. The reality is that I rarely need to read my printed Wall Street Journal because all the stories have been featured online before the print hits my driveway. The print version is also messy (leaving ink on my hands and couch), large and unwieldy.

However, I will say that a print paper does offer (when I'm in the mood) a far more interesting and meandering journey through the day's news. Editors don't simply correct spelling, they build themes; the layout is purposeful. Scanning stories that I don't know I want to read until I see them is far easier in print than online. The benefit of targeted searches is convenient, but at the detriment of narrowing the well of consumption. Would I have caught the article on International Pipe Day if I weren't looking at a print paper? Do I need to read every article on the banking crisis?

In other words, do I always know what is best for me to read? Is there a way to provide the same print experience on the Web? I think this is an incredibly important pursuit for online editors and Web developers to address. —Milena Thomas, Royal Oak

Turn the page?

I am no Luddite, but for the sake of maintaining a dramatic chunk of jobs in this country, people may need to take on a very similar set of beliefs.

The transformation from print to Web in terms of news, for example, seems to some people to have come into being right on time. It was expected, almost.

On a good day, this is an age of innovation far exceeding anything recognizeable by previous generations, but the bottom line is that many people will not be able to adapt — or, at least, not anytime soon.

The only thing that can be said is that this is a time of transition — in short, the beginning of the end. It should not be forgotten, however, that the end is always a means for a new beginning.

Whether your newspaper is in hand or on the screen, there will be advocates for the both of them. The weaker of the two will invariably die off or become a rare and acquired taste for old people.

My problem with technological innovation is that even the most functional of things eventually get replaced by newer, shinier things with no regard as to the effects that will ensue, excepting maybe profit. That is exactly what the big guns in the upstairs offices at the newspapers are thinking: profit.

It is time to turn back to the things we know. There is no sense in speeding toward an unclear end that promises nothing but convenience. It does not seem convenient to me to lay off thousands of people simply to jump from one medium to the other. —Brady Bell, Sund Folk College, Norway

Send letters (please try to keep them to 250 words or less, please) via post to 733 St. Antoine, Detroit, MI 48226; via fax to 313-961-6598; or via e-mail to [email protected]. Please include your telephone number for verification. (We will not publish telephone numbers.) We reserve the right to edit for length, clarity and libel. Should you have any questions about our editorial content, please call editor W. Kim Heron at 313-202-8011.

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