TopOfTheCircle.com

Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Dec. 2, 2017 — So long to buggy whips and slide rules

It was 20 years ago today when your Founder cleaned out a deskful of printed materials and his mailbox, dumped most of it into a brown waist-high trash can, and left the building for the last time.

It had been three years before at a staff meeting when the publisher of our local newspaper announced a convergence of our paper with the dominant paper in the state of New Jersey, the Star-Ledger of Newark.

Of course, many people like me saw what was going on because of the way the management of the paper and similar ones like it were doing, trying to survive.

In late-night discussions over pizza, burgers, and other junk food in the newsroom the next few years, a lot was made over what the physical newspaper might look like in 10, 20 years. I thought there would be a pay-per-use element for the paper. A person looking read today’s edition of the paper would put a quarter in a coin slot in a machine somewhere downtown, and it would vend a small chip that would be inserted into a reader the size of a Sony Game Boy.

Of course, with the advent of wireless technology, the Internet, and cloud-based computing, a lot of those elements have been wiped away, like the need for a buggy whip to drive horses, or a slide rule for computation.

Two decades later, a lot of my friends are no longer in the print journalism business back home. Only the truly stubborn and dedicated have remained.

Which makes me, I guess, an early adopter of a newspaper-free world. I have not purchased a paper from a newsstand in decades, and I am loath to pick up even some of the free artistic publications that dot the landscape in many Eastern metropolitan areas.

But even then, a lot of those have gone by the wayside. More on that tomorrow.

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