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To Stand on Print— To Stand on Truth

Publications are like complex watches that have precise parts with precise functions that all must be doing their job in order to give you an accurate reading of the time— the more complex, the more precise, and the more precise, the more valuable. However, the digitization of publications threatens the information it provides with a notion of ephemerality.

While it is true that the internet is and will be home to a limitless amount of content, the stasis of said content’s truth, objective, or even general accessibility can become lost whether it be faded into the noise of similar content, unknowingly re-edited (can be misleading), or outright deleted due to publishers’ agendas. The importance of print media, is more important now than it is ever because it is one of our only ways to preserve truth in an increasingly post-modern/post-truth society.

Media that exists in print provides future generations with a sort of “time machine” to the past in order to improve upon it in the future. If there is even a capability of altering past content as there is with digital content, then it could be argued that it may mislead future generations, and hinder their societal evolution as they will not have a completely accurate picture of the past. Print gives us an opportunity to take a snapshot of a current event, time, trend, or crisis in a way in which the constantly updating internet cannot.

To stand on print is to stand for the preservation of truth in a world where the lines between truth, entertainment, and opinion are constantly blurred— normally obscuring any absolute truth or coaching the reader to feel a certain way about it.

The invention of the internet, fundamentally rocked what was considered the modern news machine. Highly trained field reporters, and reliable publications were no longer the only ones producing information; the accessibility and universality of the internet lent itself to an over-abundance of unregulated information.

Before the internet, there were certain publications (i.e. The Wall Street Journal, Rolling Stones, The New York Times, Vogue, etc.) that specialized in bestowing a truth in which American citizens not only demanded, but were constitutionally entitled to. These outlets garnered their prestige from long reputations of reporting world events in their most raw and informative form. These newspapers and magazines not only had an ethical duty to report facts no matter how terrifying or mundane they are, but a reputation of reliability and journalistic integrity to uphold to retain readers.

While it is argued that the reliability of publications has dwindled in innate credibility since the digitization of many media forms, it is important to carry on the physical printing of media, as print media has a certain permanence that digital content will never achieve due to its inherent feature of manipulable digital news.

While this is not a bad quality in-it-of-itself, it should make readers, historians, and writers alike more cautious and skeptical of their accuracy. Digital articles may reflect the overall attitude of the publication, but it might not tell the whole story vis-à-vis historical accuracy of said attitude. The value in print is much more than the romance of “holding history in your hands”; it’s a necessary tool for accountability and progress.

As the internet continues to exist and provide the world with its many great contributions to the welfare of humans, the threat of misleading records of what will become the past, with retroactively revised information will remain as well.

This information is thrust upon us in all its abundance, and is easier now than ever to consume. However, this does not mean that we now have the privilege of passive information consumption; in fact, we must remain more vigilant than ever of publications manipulating their narratives— present and past. This will ensure that they (along with the rest of us), are held accountable for our pasts in order to improve upon them and make necessary changes towards progress. Reject passive education, and play a more active role in our societal awareness by being contentious about the information we consume and who is (or what) is providing it.

Written By Colby Potson

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