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Editor's column: Keep flipping those pages

Listen here, Internet, try as you might, you’re not getting rid of us.

October 13, 2012
By Per Peterson , Marshall Independent

Today is the last day of National Newspaper Week, and throughout this past week, this page has included editorials from newspaper people about, well, newspapers.

There were pieces written by the executive director of the Michigan Press Association, an editor, a United States politician and the CEO of the Newspaper Association of America. All their submissions had an underlying theme: Newspapers remain, and will remain, an important, irreplaceable piece of our society.

Don't believe me, do you. Take a number. Some people are under the impression that the newspaper is more a dinosaur than anything, its life expectancy dwindling by the issue.

Because most people think clicking a mouse or scrolling is easier than flipping a page, the Internet has become newspapers' Kryptonite.

The twist, however, is that newspaper people, as much as we blame the Internet for plummeting circulation numbers and ad revenue, more and more weave it into what we do on a daily basis. We know the Internet is not a fad, it's not a phase, it's a part of our lives. So instead of running from it, we've embraced it, mostly because we had no choice. If ya can't beat 'em

Newspaper people long ago conceded to the fact that there is no cure for the common Internet.

Chances are, you're on it right now. (To those of you actually holding a paper in your hand at this very moment, thank you for keeping a staple of our culture alive. You're old school, and we love you for it).

To those of you who aren't holding a paper right now and are reading this online, thanks for reading, but good luck clipping out that photo of your son or daughter on the sports page for the ol' scrapbook.

OK, I'm cynical. You would be, too, if someone kept telling you that your industry's shelf life is equal to that of a marshmallow sitting exposed in the back of the cupboard. I think all journalists are cynical, but that's kind of part of the gig. We work in a grain-of-salt business, a business that's not all that fun all the time. But you need us to be cynical. You should want us to be cynical.

Sometimes being an editor can be as lonely as attending a Free Sandusky party. We sit on a seat hot enough to cook bacon. That's why I like to have some fun now and then with this column. Writing a humor column is, for me, the equivalent to punching out early and going fishing. It's cathartic. It's my therapy. It's nice to be able to lose yourself in what you're doing, if only for a short time here and there throughout the week.

We all work in stressful jobs, but for some reason, journalists have become (or always have been?) some of the most under-appreciated professionals in the workforce. We're expected to do this, cover that, and when we can't we hear about it. We cover events where no one wants us around, like crash scenes. We get nasty looks, hands shoved in our faces, yelled at. We get criticized before we even ask our first question. We get labeled as intrusive and snoopy (that's being kind). Granted, there are plenty of reporters in the field who are intrusive and do cross the line, which, in this field, seems like a death sentence for the whole lot of us. But we're not all like that.

Why do we do it? Not because no one else will, but because it's how we're wired. It might not be fun always having to obsessively obsessive but it's necessary. If you want to rely on blog posts for your news, feel free, but at least stick with blogs written by real journalists who know the score, otherwise you won't get much out of many of them, save some radical opinions and a few yucks.

Look, the Internet is cool, I'll admit. You can Google something or someone in clandestine-like fashion to answer a question and sound really, really smart. You can look at videos of a guy draining half-court shots blindfolded while eating a banana and balancing a three-legged puppy on his head. You can shop, chat or start a romance with a complete stranger. You can look at cutesy family photos posted by a classmate you haven't seen in 25 years and never really hung out with in high school. I hear you can even alter history by changing something on Wikipedia. But can you trust?

Click and scroll to have some fun. Flip the page to stay informed.



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