I am a paper snob.
I work at two newspapers, I do not own an e-reader, and I journal in a notebook. However, even I must admit that when it comes to breaking news, despite all my pretentious, old-fashioned instincts, I have become dependent on Twitter.
I marvel at the speed that international news is delivered to the palm of my hand. When legendary sci-fi author Terry Pratchett passed away, I knew within six minutes of the announcement leaking out to the world by, of course, his Twitter account. I was amazed. Just 20 years ago when you died, it would probably take until several hours later or possibly the next day for the public to know, and now, billions of people can know in mere minutes. There are countless online news websites that are updated every minute of the day, and social media can spread news faster than I could even write it down.
As a journalist (and snob), I admit that this radical change of how news is delivered and absorbed is daunting. I am stuck between my love of the smell of newsprint and the thrill of seeing my own words on a page, and the fact that I run three blogs and that my work portfolio for my first job outside of college will be a website, and not a folder of clippings.
I know that online news is not just the way of the future—it’s already the way of the present. The thing is, I still love reading papers, but simply for different reasons than online news appeals to me. Papers are fantastic for profiles, features, and in-depth information on stories you can get in brief articles or 140-character blurbs. Papers have character, unique thought, and a design completely different than a web page. And frankly, there is something very satisfyingly permanent about seeing your name in print, whether in a story or a byline.
I will continue to read and work for print publications until either they or I cease to exist, whichever comes first. But I now accept the internet as my primary breaking news source with open arms. My mind can be at peace knowing that print newspapers and online news sources are not in competition, they are simply two different animals. And I am both a dog and a cat person.