Got More Instructions?

Maybe I was wrong. Or maybe I was right the first time. Just yesterday I stumbled upon a very interesting and readable article posted in Politico Magazine that talks about the publishing world’s transition from print to digital. I’m not going to try to interpret it for you, but basically it cites an extensive survey appearing in Journalism Practice that suggests the demise of print is not so inevitable (or at least it wasn’t at one time), and the future of online publishing is not so crystal clear. The article is a year old, but I don’t think much has changed in a year. If the subject interests you at all, check out “What if the Newspaper Industry Made a Colossal Mistake?”

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39 responses to “Got More Instructions?”

  1. I’m trying to warm up to reading American Heritage magazine on line. They couldn’t keep the nice slick magazine going several years ago and now they put out an issue four times a year online only. Yet American History magazine keeps going, although a shadow of its former self when it was called American History Illustrated. And American Heritage started as an actual 120 page hard bound book, although it was actually a periodical and it was pretty thin at the end of its print run.

  2. Our local paper (The Nashua Telegraph) is just a shell of what it was 15 years ago. It’s now filled with 1/4 page ads for erectile dysfunction and testosterone supplements. The Sunday classified section, which used to take 1/2 hour to go through, now consists of 4 pages of personals and real estate. We are actually thinking of going to a Sunday only paper edition and getting it online the rest of the week.

  3. For several years we went with the Sunday & Thursday only delivery because the paper was becoming too thin, carrying mostly news service articles, and was deaf to local concerns. When they changed owners and returned to local news reporting, my wife decided to go back to a regular daily subscription. She wasn’t alone! Their subscriptions nearly doubled.

  4. JJ, I’d submit that quality of the news reported matters most. If in the pursuit of a POV that the editors/writers hold dear they focus on stories that support it and ignore all stories that contradict it… and over time it becomes obvious that many of those stories were in fact based on lies… why should they be surprised when readers who don’t share that particular POV move on to other news sources?

  5. It doesn’t help when the stories are full of obvious spelling and grammar errors either. But you can tell things are getting bad for them when even the inserts are declining in both numbers and quality. I bought Tulsa newspapers a few times since moving here and they aren’t worth the price of admission.

  6. Thanks Jimmy again for the more frequent visits. Digital and online reading and shopping have forever changed things. Some are for the better and others for the worse. Intelligent business people will always listen to the worse and tweak things. Things never go back the way they were but rarely do things go completely obsolete

    Now where did I leave my VCR, cassette player and Life magazine?

  7. Is it a decline of local media, or the ease of access to our interests that the internet provides? I’ve been free of paper publications for almost a decade. Loon still reads two gardening magazines. It seems we read more widely and have developed a habit of sharing articles with each other via email. Just one young man’s viewpoint.

  8. Scads of waterfowl on the Miss. R. SE of the Cities, + several bald eagles and maybe some crows perched nearby. How come the ducks [+ coots?] aren’t worried. They seem to know these are not predators but scavengers, waiting for the occasional dead or ill bird. I’ve seen flying eagles flush such crowds of w’fowl from L. Bemidji and smaller ponds, when the eagles simply kept on flying so there was nothing then to worry about then either. Beats me.


  9. @The formerly dry person known as sandcastler,

    re: Wisdom from a rich divorcee, “I’ll never forget you as I spend your money.”

    I believe she has Symply forgotten me…my stepkids have not mentioned my Fargone name being taken in any form in years!

    We(my Gayle) even were at two family events in the past year where an appearance was made and it was civil….something I did not expect…

  10. All I know about newspapers is what I see. And like some of the other readers, I see that they have been thinning out. I also see that younger people simply aren’t reading the newspaper any more. Thus, newspapers are losing their audience and providing them less material. It’s a death spiral. It’s unfortunate. It’s the passing of a way of life.

  11. I still get Reader’s Digest ( for the jokes) and get my Gold & Black Illustrated (Purdue Sports). GBI started to go electronic 10 years ago due to the poor service of the US Mail and today is basically a paid website with 3-4 glossy editions sent out. I have gotten to know the publisher quite well and he has appreciated my feedback.

  12. Symply haven’t seen a young person with a book or newspaper unless it was nearby to a university or institution of learning. My grandkids used to read when younger, now that they are teens and have phones text doesn’t exist unless it appears in the Fargone “Black Mirror”*

    *an intriguing, chilling, provocative foresighted??? series
    (do skip the first episode until you have seen some others it is hard to take.)

  13. Ghost and I are constantly exposed to those younger than ourselves, From twenty to forty years younger, with NO fund of knowledge, no vocabulary, no books, no magazines, no newspapers. They stun me with ignorance.

    But I am among those who want paper in my hands. Last night I read Ghosts Food. Network Magazine, the night before Southern Living. I have two books with me to finish reading. I read the Tulsa paper at the oncologists office and swiped a Web M.D. For the recipes and articles on breast cancer.Also skimmed through Verandah magazine, aimed at the very rich.

    This is Jackie by the way. The port works, they drew blood from it. I start chemo on October 30, a Monday, at some insanely early hour, so we stay in Tulsa before.

    We got to P.F. Chang for the free sushi. Today is National Sushi Day. We had not and sour soup and edamame. I am on high protein diet and examine is loaded.

  14. That shark didn’t ask to be in that tank. These bears, OTOH:

    Sorry / the ads. None of the ‘awards’ are worth having, so you can just leave.

    Big flakes coming down, at a moderate rate; relatively high temps, but drop expected. Predicted up to 4″ by tomorrow, possible high winds [= blizzard], but I’m guessing we’ll see bare grass w/in the week. Hope so. Peace,

  15. I have sad news about my forty-house cul-de-sac.

    When we moved here in 1980, every single house subscribed to the local paper.

    Last year, the number was eight.

    Today, I found out the number is down to three.

  16. I started out in life running press for a small newspaper or 2. Newspapers used to get a huge chunk of their income form the classifieds. The advent of Craig’s list has really hurt most dailies. It used to be the cost of printing was covered by advertisers. The price you paid for the paper was just to cover distribution for the most part. Now they are trying to fold printing into the price you pay. They are still trying to run like it is 1985 and it is not working. I had to drop to Wednesday and Sunday because I just can’t afford nearly 500 bucks for an annual subscription. Hard to do after over 50 years of a daily paper. I can read it online, but it is just not the same. I hate reading text on a screen. I think the Kindle is an abomination. Books, magazines and newspapers were meant to be a tangible experience. I hope they find their way. I hate to see how ill informed the youth of this country are. The education system with the dedication to testing is turning out a nation of kids who can’t think. Want to mess with a millennial? Give them a dollar and a penny on a 76 cent item so you can get a quarter back. I have yet to find one that can handle it.

  17. Dennis:

    I taught Honors English, and, at least once every year, I would return the students’ without a percentage, only the number correct over the possible.

    The students always asked why I didn’t write the percentage, and I told them that I was leaving the division to them.

    Invariably, they would reach for their calculators and then look horrified and bewildered when I told them to complete the arithmetic by hand. None of them knew how to set it up, and, even after I showed them how to do it, most of them could not complete the simple problem.

    I don’t know if that’s frightening or interesting.

    Even more frightening or interesting was that one of the math teachers in the building wouldn’t allow his students to perform calculations by hand. He said that it only led to mistakes. He said that memorizing the multiplication tables was a waste of time and did nothing to increase understanding math.

  18. Dennis:

    For newspapers and novels, I still prefer paper.

    For nearly everything else, the Samsung monitor that I bought is better. It has an extra-bright curved screen with an extremely high resolution and is 27″ wide.

    I am able to adjust the size of the lettering so that I can read with ease, even though my cataracts are growing worse by the day.

  19. Too bad that some ‘educators’ [sorry, I was a teacher] have forgotten that young kids like to learn stuff. People decades younger than I are amazed at what I know. I am embarrassed at what I don’t [e.g., calculus, a foreign language, musical notation].

    ‘Where did you learn that?’ Geography, 4th or 5th grade; ‘I read it somewhere’; ‘The Book of Knowledge’ [which I read all the volumes of, and have forgotten much of]; no, Joan of Arc was not Noah’s daughter; ‘Music appreciation’, 4th-6th grade; Peterson’s field guides; ‘your textbook’.


  20. Obsessive testing is indeed detrimental to thinking, however I believe it is the politicians, rather than the teachers, who are dedicated to testing. Real educators still know and believe that children like to learn. Unfortunately, frustration with the “system” is driving many of them out and their replacements are far too willing to follow the script they are given.

  21. Glad to hear from Jerry in FL, was wondering if you were OK, Jerry. And how are your cats? Don’t you have Elvis and Cilla — am I remembering right?

    Snowing in Minnesota, emb reports — brrrrrr. Thanks for warning us, Professor.

    Old Bear, thank you so much for telling everyone that I had posted on the “Sleeping Beauty” page. I had thoughtlessly written on the wrong one when Jimmy had already put up a new o
    ne. And thank you for the nice things you wrote about my house.

    Please look back, anybody who is interested, for my house painting stories and computer adventures, to the Sleeping Beauty site. I hate to think of their going unread when it took me quite a while to type them (I am not an expert typist and make a lot of mistakes.)

    Can anyone tell me how I could re-post comments if I type them in the wrong place again? (I sure will try not to).

  22. I believe that over the centuries teachers discovered which methods to use according to the students’ ages and mental maturity. That’s why math drills among the young resulted in older students who were ready for more complex topics and able to do math in their heads and/or on paper. They not only learned how to use algebra, geometry, and trig to pass tests, they learned how to use them in real-world situations.

    Our brains don’t start out as miniature, fully-wired adult brains, they grow to that state. I think too many education theories ignore that. A brilliant young teacher I know tried to defend to me how common core teaches math but stumbled when I asked her just how many elementary school kids in her classroom really “got” the explanations? She admitted that a few could recite the explanations back to her, but it was clear they didn’t understand it very well. Certainly none of them understood math principles as well as she did 20 years ago!

    As a private math tutor I’ve discovered that the way I learned those topics 50+ years ago make more sense to the kids I’m helping than what they’re being taught in today’s classrooms.

  23. It was a “practical joke” as explained in the article:

    A sign above the tank says “touch at your own risk,” but the man seems unperturbed by that…

    And so he was pranked. Do I approve of such “humor”? No. I’d never set up a prank like that, but then I have a real heart problem. Younger, crueler folk can and do worse than that one.

  24. Charlotte in NH
    on 26 Oct 2017 at 10:47 pm #

    Can anyone tell me how I could re-post comments if I type them in the wrong place again? (I sure will try not to).

    Charlotte, the trick is to highlight the text you want to copy (likely with your mouse) then press Ctrl+C to copy it (like I did from your post). Then to paste it, put your cursor in the new location and press Ctrl+V.

  25. As long as I am here…

    I like to eat at Chick-Fil-A and a couple of the local stores keep copies of the Cincinnati Enquirer (which sadly does not feature A&J) each day for the customers to share. As my boys were growing up we were sure to make reading the comics and doing the puzzle page a sought-after priority. Now that the boys are teens and twenties I am eating alone more often, so once I finish reading the comic page I try to interest some child near me into reading it next. I have yet to have any take me up on it.

  26. Cookbooks still work better in the print form, but I suppose that I could put a tablet on a stand and follow along. If my fingers get dirty, I might have to clean it from time to time.

    I also enjoy coffee table books. The pictures can come out great in the digital format, but the books usually make them larger.

  27. Are these the ones, Charlotte?
    “on 23 Oct 2017 at 10:10 pm #
    Debbe, Jackie, and Ghost — you are so sweet to ask about me and wish me well. I have been a bit unfocussed lately, my iPad and hp desktop have both been hateful. Annoying and distracting, also they don’t get along with each other.
    In better news, I had “CertaPro” paint my large three story house (with five dormer windows) and wouldn’t you expect endless aggravation with this? Not at all, the crew did a great job, they didn’t bother me at all and the house looks very nice. They cleaned up all around, perfectly; and the price seemed reasonable for the work they put into it.
    Charlotte in NH on 23 Oct 2017 at 10:36 pm #
    Also, the weather has been warm and pleasant the last few weeks (sorry Villagers, many of you have had storms). Looks as though none of you live in the places in California with the awful fires? It’s horrible to read about the people who lost everything, and to see the pictures.
    Conditions have been perfect in NH for house painting! We would not expect it at this time of year; strange.
    On Sunday some of my daughters came over, with a very large pizza from a place just up the street. We enjoyed it!
    When you have time to write, I want to know how you liked Faust. I heard a recording of Verdi’s Otello on the radio that was awfully good; the voices and the orchestra were to die for.”

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