District recently learned that it is no longer eligible for membership in the Georgia College Press Association. Membership was revoked because District ceased printing a newspaper. District did not cease telling compelling stories and providing information to our readers.
This is a case of change. A case of new technology replacing the old, and the tired but true example of those thoroughly set in their ways showing a great unwillingness to adapt.
District finds it frustrating that so many of those who are supposed to be preparing us for the future are slower to accept the changes in our industry than we are. That we are adapting to the reality faced on our campus means we’ve done what an organization like ours is supposed to do. We learned the habits of our audience and acted accordingly. Our campus doesn’t read newspapers. Across the country, newspapers are folding under duress from loss of ad revenue, readership and subscriptions. College students have moved away from getting today’s news tomorrow, to getting it as it happens on their computer or mobile device.
The Internet has increasingly become a tool for the democratization and dissemination of all types of information. The tools and experience necessary to create and publish content to a potentially global audience becomes easier by the day. For this reason, an ever increasing number of people are abandoning traditional newspaper experiences for more personal, in-depth and interactive experiences.
District adapted to the changes we saw. Students on our campus rarely read the newspaper. We never saw them in classrooms. We saw them under projects, saving tables from adhesives and making cleanup easier.
And so we set out to change. We ceased printing. Information still exists, it still needs to be spread, and so we do that on scaddistrict.com. a news Web site containing all the content of the printed paper, in a more timely manner.
In the spring GCPA newsletter GCPA President Charles Minshew wrote an article about diverse training being necessary in tough economic times. He talks about newspapers surviving the age of radio and television, and that journalists should “stay strong” and to “continue doing what you’re doing”. District contends that newspapers didn’t “survive” because radio and television weren’t trying to kill them. Both technologies were just that, technology. They were a new way of presenting information to an audience. That’s what journalism is about.
In the same manner, the Internet is not “out to get” newspapers. It’s a new way of presenting information to our audience. If the GCPA believes that in order for newspapers to survive the Internet has to somehow go away, they will lose. Newspapers and the Internet will exist side by side, just as they do with radio and television.
If horse breeders “stayed strong” when Henry Ford came along the horse population in the United States would be such that the beasts would displace deer as the preeminent large animal to be struck at high speed on the highway.
District is committed, as always, to bringing the SCAD community the information they require. District is unaffected by this seemingly troglodytic decision. The Internet isn’t going away, and they’ll soon realize that. The campuses of the other GCPA members may thrive with printed papers, but ours doesn’t. This does not mean that we cannot exist together.
Editor’s Note: District has since learned that the GCPA is, and has been, working to change their constitution in such a way that District will be allowed back into the association.