Come September when changes at The Times-Picayune take effect, not only will New Orleans become the largest city without a daily newspaper, its residents will likely become some of the most disconnected in the country.
New Orleans lags behind the rest of the U.S. when it comes to broadband Internet service connections, according to an investigative report produced by the nonprofit journalism organization The Lens in conjunction with the Center for Public Integrity and the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University. About half of Louisianans subscribe to broadband services while the national average is 60 percent. Those who do subscribe to broadband Internet service tend to be white and in higher income brackets, the report shows.
Narratives in a Digital Age
“How I Read”
There are more ways to read now than ever. From cell phone, to book, to tablet, to laptop, reading has become a multi-platform experience. This week, LJ Digital features essays from writers and readers, discussing reading habits, and how they experience the written word today.
Why should I read on paper when I can read on backlit screens? They don’t kill trees, they don’t need to be composted, and anything can come up on then at my will. What’s the use of paper in this digital age?
I wake up at around six o’clock in the morning (regardless of what time I go to bed, I always get up at six). My hand will fall over the bed and begin to search for my iPad lying on the floor, after about five minutes of lazily fumbling around for it, I pick it up and I hit the button and the light blinds me for a few seconds before I start reading. I read online comics first: xkcd, Questionable Content, MegaCynics, ect. It’s nice to wake up to a good chuckle in the morning.
While still in bed I then catch up on gaming news. Specifically gaming news, I want to be able to write about an industry that I love (should being a lawyer ultimately fail). Many of the articles I read are from many of the smaller sites, sites that hold themselves to higher standards of journalism than many other blogs and sites. Giant Bomb’s Patrick Klepek has written brilliant articles about Kickstarter and reactions to the ending of a well-loved series.
The Penny Arcade Report’s sole senior editor and writer, Ben Kuchera has been someone I’ve been following since he started writing about gaming for Ars Technica. Recent articles about pinball enthusiastsand the recent Smithsonian exhibit looking at the Art of Video Games are particularly stand out articles that show the style and reporting that I hope to be able to bring to the table if I ever go into games journalism.
From Comics to Journalism
After an hour or so of reading comics and exposing myself to actual journalism in games, I finally get up from bed and stumble into the kitchen with my iPad. I stumble into the kitchen and put some bread into the toaster (apparently all I eat in the morning is toast; bread is an infinite resource in my apartment). As I wait for the toast to get ready I begin reading a few articles from various newspapers online. Just like the gaming articles, I scroll through the New York Times, LA Times, NPR, and the BBC to find anything of interest in the world or the US. To be perfectly honest I skim through the headlines until something peaks my interest, recently it has been the Republican primaries in the US (although hopefully that’s coming to an end) while I read up on the current Syria situation. Most of the time as I read the article I’ll activate the link that allows me to view video of the events, especially on the BBC’s website. It’s rather nice to listen to a quick clip after reading through the article. Then I smell burning toast, quickly rush over to the toaster and lament that I have to throw two black pieces of bread just because I forgot to set the dial to 3.
E-Ink vs. Dead Trees
Skip forward to the afternoon, in-between classes I’m inside of the Student Center getting over some Panda Express I ordered. This time I take out my Kindle to read a chapter or two from whatever book I’m reading. This time it’s my yearly reading of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, and it’s not just the first book but the whole “trilogy in five parts.” The e-ink display is a bit easier on the eyes and feels like real paper, without the entire dead tree.
Yet I can’t help but think how close Adams got to describing electronic books, a screen with a few keys and a big red button that would read the passage on the page. According to the novel, the Guide still had all the trappings of an actual book, it looked like a book it still had an index and had a cover. Yet you could search for anything in the universe and get an article about it. In the end, it’s still rather amazing how close Adams got to describing books of the future, technology that is still has all the trappings as a book. That’s why I have the cover of the Guide as my wallpaper on my iPad, because it’ll be the closest I’ll ever have to an actual Guide.
Overall I rarely ever touch paper; I’m dependent upon screens for my reading. All the way from my iPad to my Kindle, I look at screens. Because I honestly believe that the future of books and the written word will be the screen.