Links for the Print Media Discussion

The discussion of the print media decline predates this blog, and will continue when I move on to other thoughts, but, for now, articles related to the condition of newspapers seem to be coming out of the woodwork and catching my eye.

Links:

An interesting thing to note– and an inalienable characteristic of a blog– these are, of course, links to the electronic articles, even those that were originally run in print. (Did I use inalienable correctly?)

Any articles to add? Am I neglecting an important angle?

Or…

Think I’ve gotten hung up on this topic? Ready to move on?? Let me know if you’ve got preferences for future posts…

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Think Hard, Stay Humble: The Life of the Mind and the Peril of Pride

Francis Chan’s session at the 2010 National Desiring God Conference is definitely worth listening to. Follow the link below to watch the video or download the audio file.

Think Hard, Stay Humble: The Life of the Mind and the Peril of Pride on Desiring God

via Think Hard, Stay Humble: The Life of the Mind and the Peril of Pride.

More on the future of newspapers

Yep, as the title suggests, the future of newspapers can be summed up into one or two little blog posts. Kidding, but here are some more thoughts on the subject. (The first post on this topic can be found here.)

Digital media is here.

It is neither as drastic as some predicted nor as mild as others would have had us believe. But, it’s here. I’ll always have a special place in my heart for the thin, smudgy pages of a newspaper. But, to be honest, if it were in my kitchen drawer, it’d be a single-function item. I’m glad it’s there when I need it, but if something else could do its job and take up less space… well, that’d be something to think about.

Quick: name these kitchen utensils

On the one hand, a newspaper subscription is, generally, cheaper than my Internet bill. But, on the other hand, the Internet is a multi-function item– and on top of that, it gives me access to countless news stories. I know the big deal is the ad sales, but, the ad sales are a big deal only because of us– the consumers buying the newspapers. And, in my household budget, the Internet bill is an assumed expense. The newspaper expense is negotiable.

(On a sidenote: We receive a free community newspaper that I absolutely love! I’ll admit that, because it’s free, I hold it to a less rigorous standard. There might be posts on the place of the small-scale community newspaper yet to come.)

I’m optimistic about the place of print in the Internet, blog-saturated world, and I agree with Carr about the impact of the revision process on a print story. I also tend to ascribe a sense of veracity and endurance to tangible pieces of information (a cookbook vs. a recipe from a website– but, admittedly, both have led me astray, and both have led me right).

Basically, I see it’s place; I see it’s flaws; I like knowing it’s around.

Print Media Check-up and the Digital Boogeyman

Noticed an interesting article about the condition of print media in the growing digital world.

A Vanishing Journalistic Divide, by David Carr

Carr’s piece is a predictable, but encouraging, check-up for print media: Walk more, eat less bacon, come back next year.

The latest surveys of the print media landscape have ceased to revolve around doomsday proclamations or rambling odes from devoted clingers-on. The wait-and-see climate of what would happen when newspapers posted stories on websites, complete with links and embedded videos, is past.

We are no longer discussing the height of the boogeyman beneath our beds.

(Although the transition is not quite as past-tense as I sometimes think: USA Today circulated a memo last week announcing they were cutting 35 print-related jobs in favor of creating new digital jobs.)

Digital media is here.

Baby-Sitter Club nostalgia

A tiny, little “barely-anything” in yesterday’s post left me nostalgic for…

…the Baby-Sitters Club books. 

Did you see that one coming?

The combination of the simplicity of the BSC world and the simplicity of my world at the time that I first read them keeps a place in my heart for the series, and even the cheesiest VHS renditions.

I don’t remember paying much attention to the quality of the writing as a kid, but for books to be as engrossing as these were– particularly the “super mysteries” (which I loved!)– Ann M. Martin must have been doing something well.

You may not share my appreciation of the BSC, but I’m sure you have your own childhood book nostalgia.

What are some of your fave childhood/YA books?

(If you have kids, have they read them and loved them, too?)

P.S. There was a Baby-Sitter’s Club Mystery Board Game. Check out the original commercial for the game! Did anyone out there play it? Along with “Mystery Date” (check) and “Mall Madness” (check, check)?

The most mysterious mystery

Happy October, folks!Bird pumpkin in birdbath

Here’s a mystery and a tragedy to start off the season of spookiness.

…or, as I like to think of it, the month of ambiguous decorations– “Can I make a Jack-O-Lantern soap holder count for autumn and Thanksgiving, too? Is my neglected landscaping finally acceptable as a spooky-house decoration? And, we’re back… a mystery and a tragedy.  Prepare yourself. This may be traumatic. Unless you’re an expert on Charles Dickens, in which case, read on for a good chuckle… and thank your English professors, your favorite Charles Dickens blog, or whatever it is that has preserved you from experiencing the repercussions of the mistake I made last month.

During a perusal of a few shelves at the library, I stumbled onto a pleasant surprise– a book that seemed to combine a beloved genre and a beloved writer. How had I managed to avoid the knowledge that Dickens wrote a mystery? I’m  no Dickens expert– clearly– but I didn’t think I was so oblivious as this discovery suggested.

I took a class on Dickens in college.

I took a Dickens-themed tour of London.

Yet, never had I heard of his forray into the world of straight-up murder mystery. That’s Poe’s realm, isn’t it? And Agatha Christie’s? And, of course, the Hardy Boys, and– you know you want to judge me– the Babysitter Club Mystery Series.

The sad, tragic point is this: I began reading The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens, with no clue [ha, ha, get it? clue?] that Mr. Dickens died of a stroke in June, 1870, exactly half-way through writing the book. Summary: After reeling you in for twenty-two chapters of mysterious motives, a missing (murdered?) character, and several other “loose ends,” nothing gets solved.I was on page 220 when I made this discovery through a careless glance at the synopsis on the back cover of the book. The paragraph began with something along the lines of,

“The most mysterious thing about the Mystery of Edwin Drood, is what happens in the 22 chapters Dickens didn’t write, sucker!”

After recovering my heartbeat… I kept reading the book. I sustained myself with the hopeful idea that the missing half of the book wasn’t really necessary for the story. I mean, I could confidently speculate on who did it and how he did it… what else is there? Um… plenty. My speculations could be wrong. That’s half the fun of mysteries.

And, this is Dickens, after all.

In fact, Chapter 18 (four chapters shy of the middle– which turned out to be the end) brings in a brand stinkin’ new character (although theories suggest that this is actually one of the other characters in disguise!).

All this is to say, if you crave resolution and are already slightly prone to getting caught up in the crazy in your own head, grab A Tale of Two Cities. You may cringe or cry, but you’ll put the book down with a sense of closure, and most likely be able to move on with your life.

But, if you’re up for a challenge, and can easily separate “real life” from “novel life,” you might be able to handle 22 chapters of engrossing Dickens-style spookiness, with no sigh of resolution at the “end”.

Just prepare your loved ones for the inevitable Chapter 22 “What? For real!? That’s It?” rant.

Happy October!

*First image is from www.bhg.com. Second image from www.amazon.com, cover design by Robert Mathias, cover illustration Hereford Cathedral, Floodlit at Night (1994) by Huw S. Parsons.