Sunday, January 21, 2007

this is so cool; this is so sad

via david weinberger, i learned about the very interesting "goodbye gutenberg" - volume 60, number 4 of nieman reports. from the introduction: "Journalism is on a fast-paced, transformative journey, its destination still unknown. That the Web and other media technologies are affecting mightily the practice of journalism is beyond dispute. Less clear is any shared vision of what the future holds. Newsrooms are being hollowed out, and editors who resist such cutbacks are losing their jobs. Digital video cameras and tape recorders replace reporters' notebooks as newspapers—and other news organizations—train staff in multimedia storytelling. In this issue, words about journalists' experiences in the digital era transport our vision forward, while our eye takes us on a visual voyage back to a time when newspapers wove communities together." all online. all for free.

"goodbye gutenberg" will be the last thing we read in digital journalism. later in the semester, after assessing the students' individual and collective interests, i'll assign various portions of the report to different students. then, in class, we'll share what we learned. while typing "goodbye gutenberg" into my word-based syllabus, i realized that this was the most up-to-date reading i've ever assigned in an undergraduate class. very cool.

via jessamyn, i learned that all fifteen branches of jackson county (oregon) library system are closing in early april. imagine that: an entire county-wide library system closing. imagine that: an entire county without a library. imagine that: jackson county citizens have to go to another county to get free and public knowledge and resources. and imagine that: a new generation of children who will not have the experience of going to a public library.

jackson county library system has set up a blog, which is so sad to read. no doubt decisions like this are complex and involve many factors including city and county politics, city and county taxes, city and county initiatives, state taxes, state funding, federal taxes, federal funding, etc etc etc. but it is hard not to view closings like this as signs of the times for a country that cuts taxes on the rich, cuts social services for the people, and increases, by billions, our continued military slaughter. unless we change fast, closed libraries - not to mention closed schools - is our future. very sad.

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