Alexa Crandall is a sophomore English major at Stanford University. This blog entry refers to a research assignment for a PWR 2 course in the winter term of 2011.
“Extra! Extra! Read all about it!” We hear this exclamation and immediately our minds are transported back the 1930s, to the Depression, to the days when the newspaper was our source of hard facts and information. Now, it seems that we gather seek information not from a little boy selling papers on the street, but rather from “Googling it”. This change in information relation and writing medium is not only due to an elapse of time, but also attributed to a rise in the Internet. The process by which we find information is drastically changing to be less centered around hard print and more dependent upon the Internet. But, this change raises questions about the future of writing and journalism. How does this trend affect the culture of writing and its role in society? Through research I hope to investigate the shift from hard print to Internet journalism and its affect on the culture of writing as well as the nature of journalism itself.
In a June 14 article of the New York Times, Jeremy Peters discusses the affects of this shift away from hard copy newspapers and the potential role of the government in attempting to reverse this trend. Peters discusses the problem as a matter of “making the business of gathering information profitable again”. He goes on to weigh the pros and cons of government intervention in the newspaper industry as a means of re-establishing the newspaper as a main form of information relation. This article contributes to my investigation into this trend because not only does it directly discuss reactions to this trend, but also the secondary actions that the government and the printing industry have discussed pursuing. As much as those who profit from the circulation of the hard copy newspaper would like to see its continuance, there is also a resistance to government intervention into what has always been an industry free from government jurisdiction. Most importantly, this article recognizes this shift from hard printing to Internet as a shift that does affect the way we find information, and on an even greater level, reveals to us that this shift has implications that are being dealt with on the governmental level. This article presents the issue as multi-faceted not only in terms of those in favor of the shift and those resisting the shift, but also in that it relates the qualms of how to remedy this shift on the part of those who want to see the newspaper survive.
As I continue my research, I hope to find sources such as this article that discuss the issue of this shift in the medium of information relay from a somewhat balanced, unbiased point of view. I recognize, of course, that this article was written by in a print newspaper, and thus, the medium of the sources that I use in my research will be doubly important in analyzing their implications and opinions.