The Newnan Times-Herald

Opinion

Newspapers in the digital age


  • By Clay Neely
  • |
  • Sep. 17, 2019 - 4:22 PM

Newspapers in the digital age

The Newnan Times-Herald

The Precinct Press is authored by W.J. Butcher, a retired 26-year veteran of the Atlanta Police Department. Send comments, kudos, and criticism to: theprecinctpress@gmail.com .

I have always known that my columns in the Franklin, Georgia newspapers, the Times-Journal, and The News and Banner, are only published once a week, but now I am to understand that The Newnan Times-Herald is reducing their four-day print editions down to two per week due to declining advertisers abandoning print media to jump on the Facebook train of Millennial gazers. 

A sound business decision in an age where holding a newspaper has gone the way of whittling on the front porch for entertainment.

I remember when the computer was introduced, paper mills were worried about the talk of moving to a paperless society. Then Weyerhaeuser (one of the world’s largest private owners of timberlands…important to know paper is made out of trees, duh…) stock values skyrocketed because people generally, at that time, still wanted to read while holding a sheet of paper. 

Getting their head around reading from what appeared to be a TV set on their desk was still a bridge too far.

Our instantaneous society has morphed information delivery from daily newsprint to breaking news reports delivered to these dang confounded cell phone contraptions with an accompanied “dong” and “flash.” 

Even Paul Revere’s 1775 town cry of “the British are coming” was quicker than the next day’s newspaper story of the impending evasion. So, patience has always been a virtue in the newspaper business.

But I love grabbing a cup of coffee in the morning, flipping through the local newspaper, and enjoy fighting the urge to move towards technological advances meant to improve our lives.

As in those aggravating conversations with those ever-loving voice prompts that have me down to my last nerve: dial 1 for English, 2 if you are a customer, or (I wish) 3 to speak directly with the CEO for proper venting of your grievance.

My concern is keeping aware of our mischievous local government considerations and the advance newsprint reporting I have grown accustomed to in preparing an opposing viewpoint. I guess a newspaper website is probably superior in timing, the volume of stories, and cheaper to produce. There just seems to be the longing of a by-gone era that causes me to dig in my heals at things that change the status quo.

My brother-in-law had a 1967 Les Paul Gibson guitar that he had sent to Nashville for an appraisal for insurance purposes ten years ago. The appraiser asked him if he wanted to sell it and he declined because it used to belong to his father who bought it brand new in 1967. 

The appraiser then revealed he would give him $100,000 for the guitar, which would have been $150,000 but the neck was previously broken. Needless to say, two weeks later the check arrived in the mail.

My brother-in-law called the appraiser back, asking what famous musician bought his guitar. He was told seven Japanese investors bid on the old guitar, with a winning bid of $117,000. 

Puzzled at the buyer’s intention, he was told the Japanese investor was an admirer of authentic Americana artifacts (jukeboxes, classic pinball machines, instruments, etc.), and intended on building a clear Lucite pillar in his home and placing the guitar along with a certificate of authentication inside on display, and it would never be played again.

I sure hope I don’t stroll down to The Newnan Times-Herald one day to see a Lucite-encased newspaper, probably greeted by a moving hologram receptionist on a prerecorded message…with a dang voice prompt.

The Precinct Press is authored by W.J. Butcher, a retired 26-year veteran of the Atlanta Police Department. Send comments, kudos, and criticism to: theprecinctpress@gmail.com .